Getting Defensive: Sweden Looks to Make Noise in Hockey World CupSeptember 12, 2016
The World Cup of Hockey gets going Saturday, with Sweden opening Group B play against Russia on Sunday.
While Canada is the favorite, Sweden is expected to challenge in the tournament, which is being played for the first time since 2004: USA Today cites the Canadians and Swedes as the favorites. Meanwhile, ESPN calls Sweden the team to beat.
The Swedes, who captured the silver medal at the 2014 Olympics, will base their hopes on their defense.
Among others, the defense features Erik Karlsson, the Ottawa Senators’ star who has earned the Norris Trophy (given to the NHL’s best defenseman) twice. He’s joined by Victor Hedman, who signed an eight-year extension over the summer to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning and is considered one of the NHL’s best defensemen.
The defense also includes Niklas Hjalmarsson, who has been a part of three Stanley Cup title teams with the Chicago Blackhawks, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes. Throw in New York Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist in goal, and scoring against the Swedes should prove difficult.
Offensively, captain Henrik Sedin and his twin brother Daniel, along with Niklas Backstrom and Loui Eriksson, are among the leaders.