Tag: Daniel Alfredsson

Sweden forward Patrik Berglund is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the the Czech Republic in the first period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

With Zetterberg out, Berglund moves to top line

With Henrik Zetterberg out for the rest of the tournament and beyond, Sweden was forced to make adjustments ahead of its contest against Switzerland today.

As a result, 25-year-old Patrik Berglund has taken Zetterberg’s place on the Swede’s top line with Gabriel Landeskog and Alexander Steen, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. Berglund scored a goal and logged 12:14 minutes worth of ice time in Sweden’s 4-2 win over the Czech Republic in the nation’s Olympic opener.

Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will also enter the lineup and play alongside Detroit Red Wings teammates Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist. That line emphasizes the challenges Sweden has been forced to endure as both Nyquist and Johansson weren’t on the team’s original roster, but were added later as injury replacements.

As for Zetterberg’s role as captain, that will be filled by defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

After today’s contest, Sweden will wrap up its preliminary round schedule with a game against Latvia on Saturday.

PHT’s Pressing Olympic Questions: Are the Swedes healthy enough?


When Olympic rosters were announced in early January, each nation knew it was unlikely all players would remain healthy until Sochi.

Sweden, however, probably didn’t count on half its roster getting hurt.

An exaggeration? Yes, but only slightly. The Swedes endured a tough January as a number of key players went down with injury:

— Henrik Zetterberg missed two games to a back ailment, having already missed 11 earlier in the year with a herniated disc.

— Daniel Alfredsson missed six games with back spasms.

— Alex Steen missed 11 games with a concussion, and is currently playing with a fractured toe.

— Loui Eriksson missed 15 games with a concussion, his second of the year.

— Henrik Sedin missed eight games with a rib injury.

— Johan Franzen missed 16 games with a concussion, returned to play once, then was put on IR again.

In the case of Sedin and Franzen, their injuries were serious enough to rule them out of Sochi, replaced by Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist respectively. In Sedin, the Swedes lost an experienced international performer (part of the ’06 gold medal team in Turin) and a top center; in Franzen, they lost a quality goalscorer who thrived in his last international competition, scoring nine points in seven games at the 2012 Worlds.

It’ll be very interesting to see how Sweden fares without the Sedin twins playing together. Swedish head coach Par Marts had planned on playing them on the same line and in a top-six forward role, and has been forced to re-jig his lineup — Daniel will now be centered by Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom.

“I think [Henrik and Backstrom] are pretty similar in their playing styles,” Sedin said, per the Olympic News Service. “They like to keep the puck and move it up, so I think it will work very well. He is an incredible passer and a smart player, so it’s going to be fun.”

“Of course, it is sad for [Henrik], but that’s just how it is. He has never been injured, so this is definitely the longest I’ve played without him.”

Thankfully for Sweden, the positions considered to be its greatest strengths — defense and goaltending — are operating at full health. Henrik Lundqvist was razor sharp for the Rangers leading up to the Olympics and, on Monday, Marts rolled out what looked to be three formidable defense pairings, as Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson skated with 2012 Norris winner Erik Karlsson, while the Detroit and Chicago boys — Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson — made up the other pairs.

That left a pair of pretty quality NHL blueliners on the outside looking in. Henrik Tallinder and Alex Edler were tagged as the seventh and eighth defensemen, which illustrates just how deep (and healthy) the Swedish blueline is.

“I think there are a lot of teams that have pretty good teams, and we’re definitely one of them,” Karlsson told NHL.com. “We have a lot of guys that have been around for a while and even won in the past. We have some younger guys that have been playing really good lately.”

With that said, it does seem the x-factor is health. Zetterberg, Alfredsson, Steen and Eriksson will need to put their respective ailments behind them, which is a tall order given the compacted nature of the Olympic schedule. Teams could end up playing as many as seven games in 10 days to win gold — and make no mistake, gold is the goal for Sweden.

“People talk about Canada, the U.S. and Russia, and rightly so. They’ve got great teams,” Alfredsson said. “But we feel we can give them a good match, and we’re looking forward to playing one of those teams.”

The Replacements: Selanne named Finnish captain, Landeskog takes Sedin’s ‘A’ (Updated)


In his sixth and what appear to be final Winter Olympics, Teemu Selanne has received a pretty high honor.

The 43-year-old vet will captain the Finnish team in Sochi, according to NHL.com. The door to serve as Finland’s captain was opened after the Koivu brothers — Saku and Mikko — were unable to participate in the ’14 Games (Saku captained Finland in Vancouver; Mikko was in line for the honor in Sochi.) Selanne was the most logical choice given his tireless contributions internationally and, earlier in the day, learned he’d open the tournament on Finland’s top line alongside youngsters Mikael Granlund (21 years old) and Aleksander Barkov (18).

In related developments, Flyers d-man Kimmo Timonen and ex-Leafs forward Leo Komarov — now playing with KHL Moscow Dynamo — will serve as Finland’s alternate captains.

Finland’s geographical neighbor and biggest rival, Sweden, also announced a change in its leadership group today.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog — who, at 21, is the youngest player in the NHL to wear the “C” — will serve as an alternate for the Swedes, replacing the injured Henrik Sedin. (Henrik Zetterberg will serve as team captain.)

It appears Landeskog’s primed to fill a much larger role with the Swedish team that originally thought — last month, the Avs forward said he planned on serving in a bottom-six role in Sochi but, on Monday, was placed on a top line with Zetterberg and Alex Steen.

Here are the forward line combinations for Sweden, as per Sportsnet.ca.

Gabriel Landeskog-Henrik Zetterberg-Alex Steen

Daniel Sedin-Nicklas Backstrom-Loui Eriksson

Gustav Nyquist-Patrik Berglund-Daniel Alfredsson

Carl Hagelin-Marcus Kruger-Jimmie Ericsson

Marcus Johansson and Jakob Silfverberg were listed as the extra forwards.

Holland on Datsyuk: ‘Is he 100 percent? Probably not’


To hear Ken Holland explain it, you have to respect the player’s wishes — even if the player isn’t at full health.

That’s what the Detroit Red Wings GM said on Monday regarding the Olympic participation of Pavel Datsyuk, set to play for Team Russia despite dealing with what’s believed to be a significant lower-body injury.

“He’s probably been preparing for this tournament for five or six years when it was announced that it was coming to Russia,” Holland said of Datsyuk, who will captain the Russians in Sochi. “I’m sure if he couldn’t play, he won’t play.

“Is he 100 percent? Probably not, but there are probably other players in this tournament who aren’t 100 percent.”

Datsyuk didn’t practice with his Russian teammates on Monday and, in his two games prior to the Olympic break, played sparingly for Detroit (13:34 against the Panthers and then 14:46 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.) Considering Datsyuk usually averages over 21 per game and plays center, it was odd to see him play under 15, and mostly on a wing with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson.

“I didn’t play in one month, and it’s a little bit easier playing at wing,” Datsyuk explained, per the Globe and Mail. (Datsyuk missed 14 straight games following the Winter Classic with the lower-body ailment.)

On Monday, Detroit head coach Mike Babcock tried to put Datsyuk’s health issues into perspective.

“Pavel is a proud Russian, who has come home to win a medal for his country and he’s going to do everything he can to do that,” Babcock explained. “He’s been injured but he’s on his way back from injury. There is some opportunity here, with the way the tournament is set up, for him to spend more time feeling better.”

“It’s been two tough nights (of travel) so I don’t think whether he practiced or not today is any indication (of his fitness).”

These Winter Games are of huge importance to the Russian players, and Datsyuk is no exception. He turns 36 in July and, given his age and the uncertainty surrounding NHLers playing in the next Olympics, this could be his last kick at the can. There’s also a great sense of responsibility — while plenty of focus and pressure is on Alex Ovechkin, it’s Datsyuk who’s captaining the team.

As such, it would take a fairly catastrophic injury to keep him off the ice. Holland acknowledged this, and trusted that Datsyuk is wise enough to properly gauge his health.

“You’re trusting that they’re going to make the decisions, that they know their body” Holland explained. “[Datsyuk] knows the challenges both in this tournament and when he gets back to Detroit.

From a team standpoint, we have to respect that there’s an agreement in place and respect that the player knows his body better than anybody else, and that he’s making the right decision.”

Non-Olympian Red Wings happy to get a break

Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader
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The Detroit Red Wings sent 10 players to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. That’s 10 guys who won’t be getting a break to rest and repair the wear and tear of a tough schedule if you want to take the glass-half-empty view of things.

As for the guys not headed to Russia, they’re happy to take a load off for a couple weeks as Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News writes.

“It’s very important, especially the way things are going with a few guys who are injured, or not 100 percent, guys can use this time to get back to full recovery,” said Darren Helm, who is headed to Hawaii, with his girlfriend. “It’s going to be good to get some sun, and nice positive, refreshing time off. The guys at the Olympics are going to stay in game mode, which is good, too.”

Unfortunately for the Red Wings, some of the guys who are most banged up are in Sochi. Pavel Datsyuk is still bothered by a lower-body injury, Henrik Zetterberg has had trouble staying healthy as have Daniel Alfredsson and Jonathan Ericsson.

At the very least some of the team gets some sun and fun. The Wings have 24 games left to play to secure a playoff spot once the Olympic break is over.