Henrik Lundqvist

Sweden Olympic men’s hockey team includes Henrik Lundqvist, Sedin twins

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Sweden has won the last two Olympic men’s hockey titles on European ice. It’s sending a team top heavy with stars and weighed down by injuries to Sochi.

It starts in net, where 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist will hope to find a spark during a break from the worst NHL season of his nine-year career. Lundqvist backstopped Sweden to its last Olympic gold in Torino in 2006.

Also returning from that 2006 team are All-Star forwards Henrik Zetterberg and twins Daniel and Henrik SedinDaniel Alfredsson, 41, will be going to his fifth Olympics.

The team will not include retired stars Peter Forsberg for the second time since 1992 and Nicklas Lidstrom for the first time since 1994.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Though Sweden won Olympic gold in Lillehammer and Torino, it didn’t make it past the quarterfinals in 1998, 2002 or 2010.

Injuries have mounted over the last month.

Alexander Edler (knee) hasn’t played since Dec. 3, Loui Eriksson (concussion) since Dec. 7, Johan Franzen (concussion) since Dec. 15, Alexander Steen (concussion) since Dec. 21 and Jonathan Ericsson since Dec. 23 (ribs).

All could be replaced by Feb. 12.

Here’s Sweden’s full roster:

Goalies
Jhonas Enroth — Buffalo Sabres
Jonas Gustavsson — Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Lundqvist — New York Rangers

Defensemen
Alexander Edler — Vancouver Canucks
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Phoenix Coyotes
Jonathan Ericsson — Detroit Red Wings
Niklas Hjalmarsson — Chicago Blackhawks
Erik Karlsson — Ottawa Senators
Niklas Kronwall — Detroit Red Wings
Johnny Oduya — Chicago Blackhawks
Henrik Tallinder — Buffalo Sabres

Forwards
Daniel Alfredsson — Detroit Red Wings
Nicklas Backstrom — Washington Capitals
Patrick Berglund — St. Louis Blues
Loui Eriksson — Boston Bruins
Johan Franzen — Detroit Red Wings
Carl Hagelin — New York Rangers
Marcus Kruger — Chicago Blackhawks
Gabriel Landeskog — Colorado Avalanche
Daniel Sedin — Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin — Vancouver Canucks
Jakob Silfverberg — Anaheim Ducks
Alexander Steen — St. Louis Blues
Henrik Zetterberg — Detroit Red Wings
Jimmie Ericsson

USOC supports athletes expressing themselves after anthem protests

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PARK CITY, Utah — The U.S. Olympic Committee supports American athletes expressing themselves at winter sports events leading up to the PyeongChang Olympics.

Some MLB, NFL and WNBA players kneeled and remained in locker rooms during the national anthem at games over the weekend.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun was asked Monday if the USOC would support American athletes peacefully protesting during the national anthem this fall and winter at pre-Games competition.

“I think the athletes that you see protesting are protesting because they love their country, not because they don’t,” Blackmun said at a pre-Winter Games media summit. “We fully support the right of our athletes and everybody else to express themselves. The Olympic Games themselves, there is a prohibition on all forms of demonstrations, political or otherwise. And that applies no matter what side of the issue you’re taking, no matter where you’re from. … But we certainly recognize the importance of athletes being able to express themselves.”

Blackmun was correct to reference the Olympic Charter, which states that “no kind of demonstration … is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Blackmun mentioned Tommie Smith and John Carlos‘ raised-fist salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, which got them kicked out of the Games by the IOC.

The USOC has honored Smith and Carlos. They visited the White House last year with the Rio Olympic team.

“That was a seminal moment not only for the Olympic Movement, but for the U.S. Olympic team,” Blackmun said of the 1968 podium gesture. “Our stance on this has been fairly clear. We certainly recognize the rights of the athletes to express themselves.”

Olympic hopefuls were peppered with questions about possible protests at the media summit.

“One of the proudest parts of being an American is the ability to have freedom of speech,” four-time Olympian Julia Mancuso said. “I really look up to athletes who take a stand for what they believe in. I really believe as athletes that compete for Team USA, when it comes to the Olympics, I like to think it’s a special event. Not like the NFL or pro sports teams that compete every weekend. For us, it’s every four years. I’m proud for athletes that stand up for what they believe in if they really want to have a message to get out. But I like to think of us all as patriotic.”

Elana Meyers Taylor, a two-time Olympic bobsled medalist, is the daughter of a U.S. Marine who served in Kuwait and spent summers in the 1980s playing at Atlanta Falcons training camps.

She said any decisions on demonstrations or whether she attends a post-Olympics Team USA White House visit come secondary to her pursuit of making the Olympic team this winter.

“I can’t afford to focus on what I would do in that situation or how I would react,” Meyers Taylor said, adding that anything would be a “game-time decision.” “Maybe the social climate changes a little bit [before the Olympics]. … There’s a lot to consider.”

Aja Evans, a 2014 Olympic bobsled bronze medalist, the sister of former NFL defensive tackle Fred Evans, did not say that she would follow the football players’ lead.

“I honor and commend anyone that does that,” Evans said. “My way of showing my stance is to continue to try to be a positive influence for my city, for my country. I’m representing Team USA the best way I can.”

NCAA hockey players Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway, both prospective Olympians with the NHL not participating, said they didn’t envision taking a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I’ve always stood for the national anthem,” Greenway said. “I always will.”

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U.S. Olympic men’s hockey player from 2006 has shot at PyeongChang

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PARK CITY, Utah — Though no active NHL players will be in PyeongChang, veteran NHL forward and free agent Brian Gionta could very well play for his second U.S. Olympic team in February.

A USA Hockey official confirmed Monday that the 2006 Olympian Gionta “has a very decent opportunity” to be part of the 2018 Olympic team.

That came in response to a Buffalo radio report that Gionta said it’s looking good for him to play for Team USA.

Gionta, 38, played 15 NHL seasons through last year but is currently unsigned as the NHL preseason continues. The U.S. Olympic team of 25 players named around Jan. 1 is likely to include very few, if any, players with Gionta’s experience.

Gionta was seen at the Rochester (N.Y.) AHL club’s practice Monday (but not taking part), according to media in that area. Gionta could play for an AHL club and be eligible for PyeongChang. USA Hockey wants prospective Olympians to be active in the AHL, NCAA or a European league.

Gionta’s agent has not responded to a request for comment on his Olympic prospects on Monday. Earlier in the summer, Gionta’s agent said that the skater was considering the Olympics.

Gionta led the 2006 U.S. Olympic team with four goals. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals to Finland, their worst Olympic result over the last four Winter Games.

That came during Gionta’s most productive NHL season — 48 goals (sixth in the league) and 41 assists for the New Jersey Devils.

Another Olympian — Ryan Malone from 2010 — embarked on a comeback this preseason and could pursue the Olympics. He has been in camp with the Minnesota Wild. If he doesn’t make the Wild, Malone could play on an AHL contract and be eligible for the Olympics.

U.S. general manager Jim Johannson said this summer that he was interested in some players who “have a rich history in the NHL and with USA Hockey that we think could potentially really help this roster.” Johannson wouldn’t name names then.

Johansson said a “long list” of potential players for the final 25-man roster must be submitted in September.

A U.S. team of primarily European-based players will take part in a tournament in November in Germany. That roster is expected to be named in October.

The U.S. staff will also look at NCAA and AHL players ahead of naming the PyeongChang team.

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