The Olympic break might be coming at the best time for the New York Islanders and Frans Nielsen.
Isles GM Garth Snow says Nielsen will miss a month of action after suffering a broken hand on Saturday night, as Arthur Staple of Newsday shares.
Nielsen was injured when he was slashed by Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. Johnson was suspended for two games for his stick work.
Losing Nielsen puts the Islanders at major two-way disadvantage. He’s third on the team in points and is one of (if not their best) defensive forward. He’s also arguably their best performer in the shootout.
Times have been rough enough for the Isles as they’re winless in seven of their past eight games. Going without Nielsen for at least a couple weeks once Olympic break is over won’t make matters any easier.
Alex Steen’s breakout season with the St. Louis Blues has gotten plenty of notice around the NHL, but Team Sweden’s leadership has more than noticed.
Ryan O’Leary of IIHF.com hears from Sweden coach Par Marts about Steen and finds out they’re not the least bit surprised to see him have a big season.
“Alex has always been a talented player. This season he found a way of playing where he got the most out of his ability. He can play all roles out on the ice,” Marts said. “I am not surprised at all at the season Alex is having. He has always had this talent.”
This season in St. Louis, Steen has 28 goals and 46 points. His goal total is good for a sixth-place tie in the league with Patrick Sharp and Sidney Crosby.
For Steen, 29, this is his first opportunity to represent Sweden at the Olympics. He last wore the Swedish sweater at the 2007 World Championships. This time around he comes in with big expectations.
Teemu Selanne is participating in his sixth Olympic Games for Finland and while they haven’t won gold in that time, it’s not altering the experience of being in Sochi for the Anaheim Ducks’ future Hall of Famer.
“Obviously it means a lot, and every Olympics is a new story and a new adventure,” Selanne said. “Again, I’m very happy and thankful to be here. I’m very excited. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first or sixth time, it’s going to be very special, and I expect that it’s going to be another great experience.”
Selanne has 37 points in 31 career games at the Olympics. Finland had their best shot at gold in 2006 in Torino when they lost in the gold medal game to rival Sweden. That year, he had six goals and 11 points in eight games.
As for the Finns expectations going into this year’s tournament, he is expecting the unexpected.
“Obviously everybody has their own dreams, but our dreams are to be in the final, also,” Selanne said. “You never know. It’s a big ice surface, and 10 days, and whoever is going to be hot in the right time is going to have success. I’m expecting that there are going to be some surprises in this tournament, too. Hopefully I’m right.”