Tag: Daniel Alfredsson

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Teemu Selanne #8 of Finland skates during the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinal Playoff against Russia on Day 12 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Here are your Olympic semifinal matchups


All four top seeds beat their quarterfinals opponents, which means that the Russians have been eliminated and we have a pair of fierce rivals set to play each other in the semifinals.

Both games will take place on Friday and be played at the Bolshoy Ice Dome:

Sweden vs. Finland (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) — Watch it live online

The Scandinavian neighbors will face off in a rematch of the 2006 gold medal game.

Both of these teams have done a tremendous job overcoming injuries in this tournament. Finland is playing without several of its top centers including Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula, and Aleksander Barkov while Sweden has been forced to get by without Henrik Sedin, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg. Even still, these squads have been two of the most effective offensively in the Olympics.

This contest will feature a classic goaltending matchup between Finland’s Tuukka Rask and Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist. This will also be a game between two of these nation’s greatest hockey heroes of all-time in Daniel Alfredsson and Teemu Selanne

United States versus Canada (12 p.m. ET, NBCSN) — Watch it live online

Four years ago the United States came into the Olympics as underdogs, but they beat Canada in the round robin and then took the Canadians to overtime in the gold medal game before Sidney Crosby brought an end to America’s run. This time around, there is no underdog and there is no favorite. Granted, Canada still boosts the stronger lineup on paper, but in practice the Americans have had a far more impressive tournament.

While the Canadians have been adjusting to the big ice and at times struggling to gain traction, nearly every forward on the U.S. squad has been clicking. The Americans have scored at least five goals in three of their last four contests. By comparison, Canada has only done that once in its game against Austria.

Alfredsson: Swedes ‘can’t focus on what we have to lose’

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 15: Daniel Alfredsson #11 of Sweden looks on against Latvia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

There’s no question that the Swedes are one of the major contenders in the 2014 Winter Games. They entered this tournament as one of the favorites to win gold and were the only team to win all three of their preliminary round matches in regulation time.

Sweden also has a history of early exits in the knockout stage though. After a similarly dominant preliminary round in 2010, Sweden ended up losing in the quarterfinals to Slovakia. It was the same story in 2002, only in that case the team that ousted Sweden in the quarterfinals was Belarus.

Daniel Alfredsson was a member of both of those losing squads, but he also won a gold medal in 2006. Given his wealth of experience, what has he been sharing with his teammates as they prepare to battle the winner of Slovenia versus Austria?

“I don’t think I need to tell them anything about that after the group games we’ve had,” Alfredsson said, per the Olympic News Service. “We are going to be the favorites, no doubt about that, so it’s just about balancing our energy the right way. We can’t focus on what we have to lose but on what we can win.”

As talented as Sweden is, it’s taken a hit due to injuries to Henrik Sedin, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg. Without them, defenseman Erik Karlsson has led the charge offensively with three goals and five points.

Even still, as Alfredsson alluded to, this team has a lot of potential.

Sweden beats Latvia 5-3, finishes group stage undefeated

Team Sweden celebrates forward Jimmie Ericsson's goal as Latvia goalkeeper Kristers Gudlevskis skates away during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It wasn’t the  blowout many expected, but Sweden still earned a convincing 5-3 victory over Latvia on Saturday to complete its sweep of Group C and secure no worse than a second seed in the playoffs.

Latvia played with a lot of tenacity and frequently challenged Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but the Latvians also lacked discipline and that proved to be their downfall. Sweden’s first four goals were all scored with the man advantage. With several of the Swedes’ top forwards gone, they also relied on their depth to carry them through this contest as five different players found the back of the net: Patrick Berglund, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Edler and Jimmie Ericsson.

Ericsson, a 33-year-old Swedish league forward playing on a team full of NHL talent, ended up the hero today by scoring the game-winning goal.

Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis surrendered five goals on 29 shots, but was solid in spite of the scoresheet. The 21-year-old netminder serving in Tampa Bay’s minor league system made some impressive saves in this contest, even if the end result wasn’t pretty.

With this win, Sweden will wait for the conclusion of the Finland vs. Canada match on Sunday to find out where they will finish in the rankings. They are already guaranteed to advance to the quarterfinals but, with a goal differential of just plus-five, Sweden won’t be able to rank higher than the winner of the Canada-Finland game if either of them get three points.

Therefore, Sweden needs to hope that the contest goes to overtime.

Latvia, meanwhile, lost all three of its group matches but with a goal differential of just minus-five, it has a good shot of finishing with the 10th seed, which is the highest among the last-place teams.

Sweden will miss ‘everything’ about Zetterberg

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

SOCHI, Russia — “Everything.”

That’s what Henrik Lundqvist says Sweden will miss about Henrik Zetterberg.

Which, when you think about it, is quite a lot.

“Leadership,” Lundqvist went on. “His coolness in big moments. Big plays at both ends of the ice. It’s going to be tough to replace him. I don’t think you can.”

But the Swedes don’t have any choice but to go on without their captain. Zetterberg won’t play again in these Olympics; the 33-year-old has a herniated disc in his back.

“He is still suffering from his back injury and it is so painful for him that he can’t be in it any more. It is Z who has taken this decision together with me,” team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said. “I think it is the cumulative load. There was no specific thing that happened in [Wednesday’s game versus the Czech Republic]. The issues came the morning after. These are nerve-related issues and they often come creeping in. It is not one specific injury.”

The injury is a massive blow to a team that came into the Games with many picking it to win gold. Sweden was already without Henrik Sedin, who didn’t make the trip to Russia because of a rib injury. Nicklas Backstrom is all that’s left now of its top three centers.

“His presence all over the ice, defense and offense,” forward Daniel Alfredsson said when asked what Zetterberg brings to a team. “It’s incredible. He can set the pace of the game. It’s a tough blow for us. It’s something we have to deal with. We all feel for him. But now we have to replace him and move forward. We can’t sit and dwell on this, but it’s sad.”

Friday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, it was Alfredsson who stepped up and scored with 7:21 remaining to give Sweden a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. The result just as easily could’ve been a loss, however, with Lundqvist needing to be excellent, particularly at the outset.

“They were all over us the first 10 minutes of the game,” Lundqvist said. “They had so much speed. But then we settled things down. Second half of the first period we started to take over the game. In the second and third I thought we played really well and controlled the game well.”

On one occasion in the first, Lundqvist robbed Switzerland’s Denis Hollenstein with a right pad save.

“It was a panic save,” he said. “It was just a reaction save, kind of lucky that I had time to come back.”

Lundqvist made 26 saves for the shutout, half of them in the first. Sweden righted itself and outshot Switzerland 26-13 in the second and third periods.

“If we can play like we did today for 40 minutes, we’ve got a chance (to win gold)”, said forward Daniel Sedin. “But we need to tighten up defensively, that’s going to be our only chance. We can’t play the run and gun.”

Certainly, there’s still much to like about the Tre Kronor. Lundqvist, for one. There’s also its deep, mobile blue line featuring talented youngsters Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, plus veteran presence Niklas Kronwall. And even minus two elite centers, there remains plenty of ability up front, with the likes of Backstrom, Sedin, Alfredsson, Alexander Steen, Loui Eriksson, Gabriel Landeskog, and Zetterberg’s replacement in the top six, Patrik Berglund.

“It’s tough for us, but we feel we have depth to step up,” said Alfredsson. “And Patrik Berglund played solid for us today, and going forward he’s going to be a big piece.”

At the same time, for all the talk of depth and stepping up, the Swedes’ gold-medal hopes have taken a hit. That’s just being realistic. And coming to any less of a conclusion would be to understate the importance of Zetterberg, something his teammates clearly aren’t willing to do.

Lundqvist leads battered Swedes past Switzerland

Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist dives to deflect a shot on goal by Switzerland in the first period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Blinch, Pool)
1 Comment

The Swedes don’t have Johan Franzen, they’re missing Henrik Sedin and now Henrik Zetterberg is gone. But they still have goaltender Henrik Lundqvist — and today, that was enough in Sweden’s 1-0 victory over Switzerland.

The New York Rangers netminder turned aside 26 shots to pickup his first shutout and second win of the tournament, holding off a determined Swiss side looking for its second win of the tourney.

Battered by injuries, it took Sweden a while to get into this game and Lundqvist was all that was standing between them and an early deficit that would have been a huge hurdle to overcome against the defensively minded Swiss squad. Over time Sweden managed to shift the momentum until they finally caught a break when Swiss goalie Reto Berra surrendered a weak goal to Daniel Alfredsson.

Former Ottawa Senators teammate Erik Karlsson and St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund assisted on the marker.

That was the lone blemish during what was otherwise a solid 30-save performance by Berra, who was a surprise choice for the Swiss after Jonas Hiller led them to a 1-0 shutout victory over Latvia in the Olympic opener.

This win sets the Swedes up for their game against Latvia on Saturday. If they beat Latvia as expected, then Sweden will have swept its preliminary round group and advanced directly to the Quarterfinals. Switzerland takes on the Czech Republic next.


Video highlights from Sweden’s victory over Switzerland