Czech Republic - Sweden preview and latest news

Czech Republic - Sweden preview and latest news

12 Feb 2014 | Davide Tuniz from Sochi
 

A classic clash open the ice hockey tournament in Sochi

 
 
 
 

Ice Hockey tournament begins tonight with a classic duel: Sweden against Czech Republic, check here the history of this match and the latest news about line-ups

SWEDEN


LATEST ABOUT LINE-UP:

After this morning practice, coach Par Mårts announced Marcus Johansson and goalie Jonas Gustavsson will watch the game with Czech Republic from the stands. "Yeah, Marcus Johansson and Jonas Gustavsson starts in the stands" confirms Mårts. " I think both our goalies will have their equipment ready to be dressed.If something happens, both must be available". Besides them, also Alexander Edler  won't play as he is suspended for the first two games. (Edler was suspended for five games by the IIHF last May for a hit on Canada's Eric Staal at the world championship)

Nicklas Backstrom will fill in on the line vacated by injured Henrik Sedin: "Definitely big skates to fill. We all know what he is capable of doing" said Backstrom after the Tuesday practice.He will play on line with Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson. "I think they are pretty similar in their playing styles," said Daniel Sedin on comparing Backstrom to his brother. "They like to keep the puck and move it up, so I think it will work very well. He is an incredible passer and a smart player, so it's going to be fun." Backstrom said he watched video clips of Eriksson and the Sedin brothers from last year's world championship to get a feel for their playing style.

PLAYERS' COMMENTS ABOUT THE GAME:


Daniel Sedin: "I think it's more coincidence that we've had the edge in the recent meetings. They always have a good team and we know tonight is going to be very tough. They always play good defensively and so we are going to have to be smart, play disciplined and hopefully get our special teams working."

Niklas Hjalmarsson: "The Czechs are always a sneaky team to play against. They can feel so sleepy for two periods, and you are up one or two goals, and then you make one mistake and all of a sudden the puck is in your own goal. They are a really fast transition team. We have really got to be aware of turnovers in the neutral zone because they are probably the best team in the world, all-time best turnover team in the world."

Henrik Lundqvist: You walk around a bit excited and just want to get going. It's always like that with opening games. It doesn't matter which season it is or how old you are, you just want to get going and have a good start. We will face Jaromir Jagr. He's still got it. It will be a challenge. And it is not surprising that he is still playing because his play isn't about speed, it's about strength and a sense of play. Perhaps he was a little bit quicker 10 years ago, but he's still got the same strength, he holds back, twists and turns and it's incredibly hard to take the puck from him."

Peter Popovic(assistant GM) "As the tournament is planned, we won't die if we lose. We can lose three games and still stand as a winner at the end but, at the same time, you want to get going, get a good start and get the guys into the game."

TRIVIA
Taking the ice tonight, Daniel Alfredsson becomes the first Swedish ice hockey player to play in five Olympic Winter Games:"I never thought I'd play another one after Vancouver, but somehow I've managed to stay in the sport and still enjoy it, so it's great to make it to the team and be here fighting for a gold again."

LINE-UP:

Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist (Jhonas Enroth)

1st line: Oliver Ekman Larsson, Erik Karlsson - Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Backstrom, Daniel Sedin.

2nd line: Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson - Alexander Steen, Henrik Zetterberg, Gabriel Landeskog.

3rd line: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya - Daniel Alfredsson, Patrik Berglund, Gustav Nyquist.

4th line: Henrik Tallinder - Jimmie Ericsson, Marcus Krüger, Carl Hagelin.

Extra Forward:Jakob Silfverberg.


CZECH REPUBLIC


LATEST ABOUT LINE-UP:

Winnipeg Jets' Ondrej Pavelec will be the not-dressed goalie for the Czech Republic premiere against Sweden. Who will start in Czech goal - Jakub Kovar or Alexander Salak - is still not known but main favourite is Kovar. Coach Alois Hadamczik explains why he scratched Pavelec: "I'm seriously thought about it, in the first match I prefer a goalie accostumed with european size rink. Both Kovar and Salák are adapted to a wider rink, and both are in an excellent form." Pavelec briefly commented his exclusion: "What can I do, I don't know what will happen next. Every player wants to play, so obviously I'm not happy"

The other doubt for Hadamczik is the health of defender Radko Gulas. Tampa Bay Gulas had flu until yesterday and didn't appear in the training. It's unlikely he can play tonight. "Today Radko try to skate, but the temperature is still high" said team spokesman Zdeněk Zikmund. Gulas was very happy at his arrive in Sochi: "It's amazing that I'm here. I can't believe, a dream come true. When I was young, I watched players like Jagr and Petr Nedved, who show off on the ice. Now I have them as teammates. It's a dream come true" . Also Ales Hemsky didn't train this morning but no informations about a possible absence were given at moment

PLAYERS' COMMENTS ABOUT THE GAME:

Petr Nedved: One of the key to try to beat Sweden may be open the score first. If Swedes score firist, they can then build defenses through which it's hard to pass"

Tomas Plekanec  Personally, I think Sweden is among the main candidates for gold. They are solid both in attack and defense, on paper, are very strong. But if we play well and have a bit of luck, we can beat them. They play hockey a little different than the others. Henrik Sedin will definitely miss them, but how much - we'll see.

Alois Hadamczik (coach): This game will be especially important in terms of assembly the lines, being a team. Hockey players from the NHL may struggle a bit with fatigue and acclimatization, athletes from Europe again wrestling with a longer break. But this is the same for everyone. Players have to submit more than one hundred percent power, otherwise we have no chance"

LINE-UP:

Goalie: Jakub Kovar (Alexander Salak)

Defense pairs: Marek Židlický - Zbyněk Michálek; Tomáš Kaberle - Michal Rozsival; Lukáš Krajíček - Michal Barinka; extra: Ladislav Smid

Offensive: Roman Cervenka - Tomas Plekanec - Jaromir Jagr; Ondrej Palat - David Krejci - Jakub Voráček; Petr Nedved - Patrik Elias - Martin Erat; Milan Michálek - Jiri Novotny - Michael Frolík

Not dressed: Martin Hanzal, Ales Hemsky.


HEAD to HEAD at the Olympics

Sweden and Czech Republic played twice at the Olympics

17 February 2002 @ Salt Lake City preliminary round, Group C: Sweden - Czech Republic 2-1

24 February 2006 @ Turin, Semifinal: Sweden - Czech Republic 7-3

Back in time, Sweden played 16 times against former Czechoslovakia at the Olympics with a 7-1-8 record




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