The defending Olympic champions come into the 2010 Olympics ranked 3rd.
Sweden will be looking to repeat their 2006 performance. They seem to have a Gold, bronze or 5th place mentality when it comes to the Olympics in recent years. They havent finished in a spot other than those three places since 1972. 2 golds, 3 bronze, 3 5th place finishes in that time.
The team will be coming in with a legitimate star studded team that could include the likes of Peter Forsberg if his comeback over in Sweden is coming along as well as he hopes it is. With the Sedin twins, Alfredsson & Zetterberg rounding out the top offensive units, you can expect them to be able to play a run & gun game with any country out there.
In goal, all world star Henrik Lundqvist will be front & centre. The back up role will likely go to NHLer Johan Hedberg. The 3rd string goalie may be NHLer Gustavsson if he is healthy enough to play, but its more than likely going to a SEL goalie, perhaps Markstrom.
On defense they have Nick Lidstrom. Do you really need more? Some of their younger guys like Enstrom, Edler & Stralman have all had terrific years & make their d-core much stronger than it might have been even a year ago.
Henrik Lundqvist- NEW YORK RANGERS (NHL) The top goalie in Sweden is undoubtedly Lundqvist. He'll be given the number 1 spot & even if he stumbles, its unlikely he'll be replaced.
Mikael Tellqvist- KAZAN AK-BARS/LUKKO RAAMA (KHL/FINLAND) A former NHL back up, Mikael started the year in the KHL did well there, but recently moved to Finland to play. I originally had Johan Hedberg in this spot, only to find out he isnt eligible for the tournament.
Jacob Markstrom- BRYNAS IF GAVLE (SEL) Barring injuury, Markstrom is probably just here to watch the tournament.
Nick Lidstrom- DETROIT RED WINGS (NHL) 6 Norros Trophies. Enough said.
Niklas Kronwall- DETROIT RED WINGS (NHL) If hes healthy enough, hes in for sure.
Tobias Enstrom- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL) Having an exceptional year offensively. Tobias will very likely be seen as a QB for the PP.
Alex Edler- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL) Having the best year of his career so far, Alex has a minor injury right now, but is expected back in plenty of time for the Olympics. Will be primarily 2nd unit ES & PP.
Anton Stralman- COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (NHL) Another player having an exceptional career year, Anton will get some PP time & probable 3rd unit ES time.
Niklas Hjalmarsson- CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (NHL) Expect him out there on most PK situations & ES.
Henrik Tallinder- BUFFALO SABRES (NHL) If the are looking for more defensive responsibility, Tallinder might draw in ahead of Stralman. Another PK option.
Daniel Sedin- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL) After an early season injury that kept him out 6 wks, he has returned with a vengeance & has helped his twin brother vault near the top of the leagues scoring leaders.
Henrik Sedin- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL) Right now 3rd in the entire NHL in pts. Henrik showed he isnt just an exceptional passer this season, but capable of scoring too. His brother & him will be 2/3 of the top line.
Nicklas Backstrom- WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NHL) One of the top players on one of the top teams, Nicklas has cemented himself as a probable number 2 centre. Only question will be if Forsberg is handed that spot instead.
Daniel Alfredsson- OTTAWA SENATORS (NHL) Whether its Forsberg or Backstrom, Alfie will be the other top end scorer on the 2nd line.
Henrik Zetterberg- DETROIT RED WINGS (NHL) Probable top line linemate for the Sedin twins. Question right now with a recent injury. If it is long term, he might not be added.
Peter Forsberg- MODO ORNSKODLSVIK (SEL) Absolutely dominating the Swedish league since returning. Peter could be the #2 centre, if not he'll at the least have the 3rd line spot.
Tomas Holmstrom- DETROIT RED WINGS (NHL) One of the best 2 way players in teh game, Tomas will be looked upon for offensive support, and defensive responsibility. A 3rd line lock who could fill in 2nd line duties if someone struggles.
Loui Eriksson- DALLAS STARS (NHL) An offensive contributor, will likely get 3rd line duties here.
Samuel Pahlsson- CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (NHL) A checking forward who is a near lock for the teams checking line.
Mikael Samuelsson- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL) I'm not sold on him being there, but due to a lack of other options (Bergfors ineligible & Franzen still injured) Samuelsson will probably make hiw way onto the team. If Franzen is healthy, he'll bump Samuelsson most likely.
Tom Wandell- DALLAS STARS (NHL) Will probably be another checking line addition with Pahlsson.
Mattias Weinhandl- MOSCOW DYNAMO (KHL) Strong contributor in the KHL offensively, Mattias might sneak into a top line spot with the Sedins where he has played & had success before.
Tony Martensson- LINKOPING HC (SEL) The top scorer in the SEL, Tony will probably be here more for image in Sweden than actual playing time. Might get into the line up, but will more likely be scratched most nights.
maybe- Jonas Gustavsson, Johan Holmqvist, Viktor Hedman, Doug Murray, David Petrasek, Johan Franzen.
Like the two teams prior, I only went for the Wings prior to the game. This was bad for me, as it was day 3 of their trip here & it seems a couple of the players were under the assumption they must have signed for everyone by then. That being said, considering I put in just barely over 1/2 hr & missed 2 guys before I got there, really decent performance.
CHRIS OSGOOD- 1 autograph. He didnt look too keen on signing, but did for the people who asked. Like I said, day 3 is often the breaking point for players.
JIM HOWARD- 2 autographs. Happily did all items presented to him.
NICK LIDSTROM- 1 autograph. As usual, Nick made sure everyone got 1 item & took pictures with a few fans even.
BRIAN RAFALSKI- 1 autograph. Presented 2 items, he did 1. Still for day 3 I am just happy he signed. Hes had a history of being an unhappy signer at times.
NIKLAS KRONWALL- 1 autograph. 2 items presented, 1 signed. Happened a lot.
BRAD STUART- 1 autograph. Signed willingly.
BRETT LEBDA, JONATHAN ERIKSSON, DEREK MEECH & ANDREAS LILJA- no reports
PAVEL DATSYUK- 1 autograph. Made sure that everyone got 1, and didnt sign multiples for anyone.
HENRIK ZETTERBERG- 1 autograph. Signed 1 for everyone. Declined pictures with though.
TOMAS HOLMSTROM- 0 autographs. 1 of the few guys who didnt stop. I suspect he just assumed because it was day 3 that he had got us all already. Hes got a history of being a tough signer, but usually makes sure that everyone gets 1 on a trip.
JASON WILLIAMS- 2 autographs. Willing to do multiples without hesitation.
DAN CLEARY- 1 autograph. Considering he didnt sign a single thing for me last season, despite multiple requests. I'll take 1, even though 2 items were preseneted to him & barely anyone was asking him.
VALTTERI FILPPULA- 2 autographs. Signed both items without hesitation.
TODD BERTUZZI- 0 autographs. Disappointed in Todd. As a visitor since his trade away from here hes been a great signer. Today not so much. He told everyone he would get us when he came back to the bus, then signed for a whole 2 or 3 people out of the dozen or so waiting.
PATRICK EAVES- 1 autograph. Only had 1 item, he did it without a problem.
BRAD MAY- 0 autographs. Shockingly, I had nothing for 1 of my all time favorite players. But he did sign for everyone who asked.
DARREN HELM, KIRK MALTBY, KRIS DRAPER, JUSTIN ABDELKADER & VILLE LEINO- no reports
Total Detroit autographs- 15.
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From time to time I have something to say on hockey. Whether its the Vancouver Canucks, NHL in general, Womens Hockey or International Hockey...if I have something to post, it will be in here.