The defending Olympic champions, Team Sweden, announced their 23 man roster on Sunday. The Swedes are flying a bit under radar at the moment, as a lot of their top players from years past are now retired or nearing retirement: Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidstrom. Speaking of Forsberg, he’s playing in the Swedish Elite League this season. Apparently he’s playing pretty well too. His 15 points in 9 games were enough to warrant a spot on the Olympic team. In case you were wondering about Markus Naslund, he has 8 points in 8 games but was not selected.
So who made the team? Take a look:
King Henrik will be in between the pipes as the clear starter for the Swedes once again in 2010. Look for Gustavsson to be his backup. If Sweden is to win gold, it will need to come with some spectacular goaltending from Lundqvist.
Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto Maple Leafs/NHL), Stefan Liv (HV 71), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers/NHL)
Sweden’s defense will once again feature six-time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. Niklas Kronwall and Mattias Ohlund will also be leaned on heavily, but their blueliners are a little thin after that. All the more surprising that Alex Edler was not named to the team, while NHL castaway Magnus Johansson was.
Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta Thrashers/NHL), Magnus Johansson (Linkopings HC), Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks/NHL), Johnny Oduya (New Jersey Devils/NHL), Henrik Tallinder (Buffalo Sabres/NHL), Mattias Ohlund (Tampa Bay Lightning/NHL)
Assuming his foot holds up long enough, Peter Forsberg will certainly provide an unexpected boost to Sweden’s forward group. A healthy Forsberg gives Sweden three potent centres, joined with Nicklas Backstrom and Henrik Sedin. After Daniel Sedin, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg and maybe Loui Eriksson, their wingers don’t have a whole lot to offer. This didn’t escape Mikael Samuelsson, who is PISSED! When asked for his reaction, Samuelsson had this to offer:
“I pretty much have one comment and maybe I’ll regret it,” Samulesson said. “But they can go f*** themselves. That’s what I really think.”
This rare moment of candidness from an NHLer was probably in bad taste, but it’s hard not to agree with him. In 2006, Samuelsson played well on the team that eventually won gold in Torino. He’s having a pretty decent season and can play in an offensive and defensive role. He’s put up better numbers and has a better resume than Patric Hornqvist. Fredrik Modin hasn’t had a decent season in a few years, yet was named to the team. Mattias Weinhandl had trouble cracking the Minnesota Wild lineup just three years ago, but is playing well in the KHL and made the team.
Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators/NHL), Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals/NHL), Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars/NHL), Peter Forsberg (MODO Hockey), Tomas Holmstrom (Detroit Red Wings/NHL), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators/NHL), Fredrik Modin (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Samuel Pahlsson (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks/NHL), Mattias Weinhandl (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings/NHL)
Also NOT selected to the team was Tommy Salo (who is still having nightmares at last report):