Swedes Time to Shine at the World Cup

StuWild writes- With the likes of Forsberg, Sundin, Lidstrom and Naslund, Team Sweden knows it can compete with the best the world has to offer and I look for them to win the World Cup which gets underway August 30th.

Sweden’s forwards are right up there with the other seven nations taking part in the competition.
Leading the way is Peter Forsberg, the Colorado Avalanche’s dynamic forward along with Mats Sundin, the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs who will also captain this Swedish squad. Now add Ottawa Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson and Markus Naslund, the captain of the Vancouver Canucks and you have a great start to the core that will lead this group of talented forwards. Naslund is joined by two other Canucks forwards, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the twins. Then throw in Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings who adds speed and skill and Head Coach Hardy Nilsson will be able to create a couple of very formidable forward lines.

Sweden’s defensive corps are very strong, skilled and versatile, led by three-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings. Lidstrom’s tremendous all-around game makes him one of the most feared backliners in the game. Then you add in Kim Johnsson, Mattias Norstrom and Mattias Ohlund and you have a real solid top 4.

In goal, I think the Swedes will have a real tough decision to make. They can turn to a veteran in Tommy Salo who certainly has a lot to prove. The international veteran split last season between the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche. Their roster also posesses Mikael Tellqvist of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Henrik Lundqvist of Vastra Frolunda HC of the Swedish Elite League. He is a New York Rangers’ prospect.

I think that Nilsson should turn to either Tellqvist or Lundqvist rather than Salo who no question would have to be entering this tournament with a low self confidence. They can go with youth and then turn to the veteran later if needed.

The Swedes are always very strong in International play and I personally think this is their time.

Think of the top powerplay unit that this team can posess. Lidstrom and Alfredsson quarterbacking on the point. Sundin, Naslund and Forsberg up front. That’s scary!

Who’s your pick to win and why?

12 Responses to Swedes Time to Shine at the World Cup

  1. PayUpSucka says:

    2nd scariest team behind the Canadians, but if they were to meet in the final, as bad as i’m going to probably get ripped for this, I think Sweden has the team to beat Canada.

  2. Furlong19 says:

    I think Sweden is looking strong too. They’re not my pick to win it though. The obvious favourite is Canada. But since we’ve been kicking ass in recent tourneys, I think it’s our time to lose. The team I’m predicting to win is Finland. No one seems to be giving them the credit they deserve. TSN ranked them 7th, and I truly believe they should be ranked as high as 3rd. Especially with all the dropouts in the tourney. Here’s why I think the Finns will steal the show:

    #1 goaltending. They obviously have top notch goaltending in Kiprusoff. I’d rank them as the 2nd best goaltending team, after Canada. And as we all know goaltending is the #1 factor in hockey. Kiprusoff could be playing for a team like Venezuela and they’d still have a shot. Other teams aside from Canada are very weak in nets.

    #2 great mix of players:

    -agitators: Nieminen/Jarko Ruutu

    -defensive forwards: lehtinen, eloranta

    – decent scoring: koivu, selanne, jokinen and of course Tumom Ruutu

    – very underated defence: Timonen, Niinima, Pitkanen, Lydman, Salo, Numinen

    I like the finns style of hockey compared to the rest of europe. They are gritty and finesse at the same time. I think they won’t back down from the gritty North American teams and will stand their ground, and have all the components to beat euro teams

  3. PayUpSucka says:

    Not to mention they seem to own Canada in international competition, I didn’t give them any thought until you just mentioned them. They have the goaltending to steal games.

  4. Westcoastexpress says:

    I think that the Swedes are on par if not ahead of Canada for favorite status going into the tourney. The only weak spot for the Swedes will be between the pipes, but with the depth they posess at the forward and defense positions, goaltending may not being as important of a postion for team Sweden as it might for other teams. The drop off after Canada and Sweden imo is signifcant in this tourney.

    Gold- Sweden (due to the fact that the Canadians had a hard time containing the Swedish forwards in Salt Lake, I give Sweden the edge over Canada)

    Silver- Canada

    Bronze- Slovakia(very scary group of forwards, maybe the best offense in the tourney)

  5. StuWild says:

    I agree with the Slovaks having the best offense up front. Gaborik, Hossa, Zednik, Palffy, Bondra, Demitra, Nagy, Satan. The weakness I think will be on D. Chara is a monster and overall they have great size but not great mobility. Budaj I think will start for them in goal. An Avs prospect, who is pretty good but I think he will have to be great for them to earn a Medal.

  6. Aetherial says:

    Yes they have an impressive team.

    I do not believe anyone can beat Canada, despite the key injuries.

  7. Furlong19 says:

    I remember at Salt Lake so many people were picking Sweden to win it all. And they looked like geniuses until Sweden had to face the powerhouse Belarusians.

    Sweden may have the offence and defence, but goaltending is very weak. And goaltending is by far the biggest factor. The Swedes desperately need a #1 goalie to come out of Sweden. They’ve never really had a top goalie.

  8. Furlong19 says:

    Yeah Canada barely squeaked by them in Salt Lake. I think we won 2-1, and they had Jani Hurme in nets. They also beat us in Nagano for the bronze.

  9. ThunderBall says:

    I agree, the weakest point in our Swedish team is the goaltending. Salo can be great at his best moments, but it was a long time ago since he was at that level. Tellqvist is a decent backup. Henrik Lundqvist (a N.Y.R. prospect) of Västra Frölunda is probably our next #1 goalie (Perhaps a star goalie in the future… ?)

    Furlong19, do you remember Pelle Lindbergh? He was a Swedish goalie, and as far as I am concerned, he was a top goalie for the Flyers, wasn’t he? Too bad he crashed his car and died way to young!!!

  10. nj814 says:

    everybody says the slovaks arent gonna get a medal because they dont have a good goalie, but besides canada and maybe finland( i think kipper is another giguere but maybe not)nobody really has one so i give them a good shot for a medal because of all of their offense

  11. ranger_fan says:

    Pelle was one of the most talented goalies. And he was so young when he played. He could have been the top goalie in his prime.

  12. bpanther83 says:

    No way…Slovakia won’t beat Sweden….I think its gonna be between Canada and Sweden 2…just cause of the goaltending and the overall balance of offence and defence. I wanna say Canada to take it all, but sweden worries me…they crushed us in game one last year with Joseph in net. But Other than Canada, sweden is my next favourite team…so it wouldn;t bother me AS much.

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