On the same day that one Art Ross winner was added to an Olympic roster, another was removed. Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks has been deemed unavailable to represent his native Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Henrik Sedin the latest award-winning NHLer ruled out of the Sochi Olympics – http://t.co/Z2p1jjbTDY
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) February 6, 2014
The loss is massive and will be felt by the Swedish men’s hockey team. Henrik Sedin would’ve played a starring role with Tre Kronor, alongside his brother Daniel. In light of today’s news, Daniel will be forced to flank some other centreman, something he is not very accustomed to. The Sedins have played their entire NHL career together with the Canucks, almost exclusively on the same line.
Sweden is arguably as strong as any nation at the centre position with Henrik Sedin in the lineup. The Canucks’ captain would’ve played middle man on one of Sweden’s top three lines; Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals would’ve rounded out the impressive group at centre. Without Sedin, Sweden is unquestionably a weaker team. This is a big loss for the 2006 Olympic ice hockey gold medalists.
The Score reports that Henrik Sedin’s replacement in Sochi will be Calgary Flames centre Mikeal Backlund, who played a prominent role in winning back-to-back silver medals for Sweden at the 2008 and ’09 World Junior tournaments.
Henrik Sedin will miss the Olympics due to injury. Mikael Backlund will reportedly take his place on Team Sweden. http://t.co/xJQGR9mGKJ
— theScore (@theScore) February 6, 2014
Backlund is a good player but he’s no Henrik Sedin. Not even close.
Henrik Sedin’s absence from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia is Sweden’s loss and the Vancouver Canucks’ gain. A recent bout with inconsistency has knocked the Canucks down to the bottom of the Western Conference’s top eight; they’re in for a dog fight the remainder of the season if they hope to qualify for the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. The rest will do Sedin good – help him prepare for the final stretch drive.
UPDATE: Team Sweden will announce Henrik Sedin’s replacement tomorrow. Earlier reports suggesting Sedin would be replaced by C Mikeal Backlund of the Calgary Flames are untrue.