Tag: Henrik Tallinder

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of Sweden handles the puck in the second period against Switzerland during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Sweden’s Nicklas Backstrom a late scratch for gold medal game


Sweden’s offense has been dealt another major blow. Nicklas Backstrom was initially included on the team’s lineup for the gold medal game against Canada, but he didn’t participate in the pregame warmups and has now officially been scratched, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.

Defenseman Henrik Tallinder has been selected to fill the vacant lineup spot.

If Sweden wins the gold medal today, it will have been by overcoming some major injuries. In addition to missing Backstrom, Sweden is also playing without forwards Henrik Sedin, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg.

That being said, the Swedes can still challenge Canadian goaltender Carey Price with the likes of forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Alexander Steen, Loui Eriksson, and Daniel Sedin. Then there’s defenseman Erik Karlsson, who has been explosive in this tournament with four goals and four assists in five games. Canada will have to watch out for him.

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.”

Oduya to miss second straight for ‘Hawks, but will play in Olympics


Chicago will be without Johnny Oduya for a second straight game tonight against Phoenix but, according to head coach Joel Quenneville, the Swedish blueliner will be ready for the Winter Games in Sochi:

Oduya, 32, is dealing with a lower-body issue and didn’t play during Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Anaheim. It’s unclear as to the severity of the injury but, based on Quenneville’s remarks and the fact other veteran NHLers have rested prior to the Olympics — including Oduya’s Chicago teammate, Marian Hossa, who’s been taking practices off — it’s unlikely Oduya is in danger of missing out on Sochi.

That’s a good thing, because Sweden can’t afford to lose any more players — the club has already had to replace forwards Johan Franzen (concussion) and Henrik Sedin. Oduya is one of eight defenseman named to the Swedish team, along with Alexander Edler, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Erik Karlsson, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Tallinder.

Marcus Foligno ready to return to Sabres lineup

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders

The Buffalo Sabres will get forward Marcus Foligno back in the lineup Saturday, when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Foligno, who has five goals and 11 points in 41 regular season games, missed Wednesday’s game against Toronto due to injury but was back at practice on Friday.

“[It was] a reoccurring injury that just kind of got pinched in the game against Philly and it’s all better now,” he said, as per the Sabres’ website.

“The trainers looked after me and it’s something where you just needed to rest it and I’m looking forward to getting back at it tomorrow.”

There was also more good news on the injury front for Buffalo. Henrik Tallinder, out the last six games with an upper-body injury, and Kevin Porter, out since Dec. 23 with a lower-body injury, both skated with the team on Friday, according to the Sabres.

Their returns will have to wait, however. According to the Sabres, both players, who are on injured reserve with Cody McCormick, aren’t expected back this weekend.

Where do the Sabres go from here?


As we wrote this morning, Tim Murray is considered one of the top talent evaluators in the game. Suffice to say, the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres will need to use all his evaluating expertise to take the NHL’s last-place team and turn it into a Stanley Cup contender.

The draft is obviously going to be important.

“You build a team through the draft,” said Murray. “Good drafting allows you to trade well, and then you use free agency to put you over the top.”

But there are other pressing issues for Murray. Such as…

What does he do with Ryan Miller?

The club’s 33-year-old franchise goalie is a pending unrestricted free agent who said in December that he’s “not going to sit around and let promises get thrown around” by management.

When asked about Miller this morning, Murray said he first needed to get a feel for the trade market before making any decisions about the club’s list of pending UFAs, which also includes captain Steve Ott, Matt Moulson, and Henrik Tallinder.

“The market dictates that,” said Murray. “I can’t go out and tell you right now I’m going to trade all the pending UFAs if there’s no market to trade them. If there’s a market and it makes sense…this team’s in last place right now; everybody could be traded.”

The market for Miller is a tough one to predict. Typically, Stanley Cup contenders are already set in goal. There’s been speculation (much of it ours) that St. Louis could be a potential landing spot for Miller prior to the March 5 deadline, but if there’s no guarantee of re-signing him beyond this season, the market for a rental goalie will be limited.

What does he do with Mikhail Grigorenko?

“You can draft a guy in the first round. If you don’t develop him right…you can lose him.”

That was Murray this morning, and it wasn’t hard to picture Grigorenko while he was saying it. The Sabres selected the talented 19-year-old in 2012 with the 12th overall pick. In hindsight, they shouldn’t have kept him with the big club last season. They did eventually send him back to junior, but not until the first year of his entry-level contract had been triggered.

In 43 NHL games, Grigorenko has just three goals and five assists. Right now he’s in limbo, unable to go to the AHL and possibly unable to go to junior. Obviously, Murray needs to figure out a better development plan than the one that’s gotten the situation to this point.

What does he do with Ted Nolan?

Murray was non-committal when asked about the Sabres’ head coach.

“There’s no preconceived notions,” he said. “He’s the coach of the hockey team and I’m looking forward to getting to know him, getting to know the staff, and getting to know the style of coaches they are and the style they want to play…It’s a clean slate here.”

The consensus opinion is that Murray will hire his own bench boss when all’s said and done. But while that may well be the case, it’s not unheard of for a new GM to stick with the coach.

Off the top of my head, when Mike Gillis was hired as the new GM in Vancouver, it seemed likely that Alain Vigneault would be fired. Instead, Gillis stuck with Vigneault and nearly won the Stanley Cup a few seasons later.

In fact, here’s what Gillis said after he got the job: “I haven’t made any predisposed decisions…This is a clean slate moving forward.”

Sound familiar?