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Senators owner on Erik Karlsson at Olympics: Maybe, if he was Canadian

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Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk reportedly said he would not let star Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson play at the Olympics without NHL participation, unless, maybe, Karlsson was Canadian.

“So I’m going to give Sweden my best player at the risk of him being injured, beating our Canadian team,” Melnyk said on Sportsnet. “That doesn’t make sense. Maybe if it was a Canadian going to play for Canada. Maybe. But right now it doesn’t make any sense for our franchise, or it’s not fair to our fans if we were to lose him [to injury], God forbid.”

Karlsson, 26, helped Sweden to a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics, tying for the tournament lead with eight points, and was named the best defenseman at the event. A year later, Karlsson earned his second Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.

The NHL hasn’t announced whether it will take a break in its season to participate in a sixth straight Olympics in PyeongChang. NHL officials have said that if the status quo doesn’t change, they will not be going.

That stance has led owners and players to be asked if they would consider going against NHL policy and playing in the PyeongChang Winter Games anyway, at the risk of possible punishments.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has said he plans to play for Russia no matter the NHL’s stance. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has supported Ovechkin.

“Good, go ahead, wait until you’re going into the Stanley Cup final, or you’ve got a hot team or you’re favored for the Stanley Cup and Ovechkin is gone,” Melnyk said, according to Postmedia News. “Go to [Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey] Price. He gets hurt. What happens to the Canadiens?”

Karlsson said that he really wants to go to the Olympics, according to Sportsnet, but thus far has not come out with an Ovechkin-like declaration that he would hope to go even if the NHL doesn’t participate.

Which brings us to Melnyk.

“No, no, it would be no, a flat no,” Melnyk said, according to Postmedia News.

Part of Melnyk’s thinking comes from 2006, when his then-star goaltender Dominik Hasek injured himself at the Torino Winter Games. Hasek didn’t play another second for the Senators, who went on to lose in the second round of the playoffs.

“I had a Cup in 2006 parked for me and waiting for me,” Melnyk said, according to Postmedia News. “We were arguing about whose name was going to go on the [Cup]. We were there and what happens? Hasek. I’m not going to do that.

“Can you imagine if [Karlsson] goes and he gets a permanent injury? You know what I’m saying? That’s my view.”

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Ingemar Stenmark to Lindsey Vonn: ‘Don’t beat my record too early’

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Lindsey Vonn‘s top priority for the remainder of her career is to break the World Cup wins record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. She is at 77 victories, nine shy of the record.

Stenmark’s goal? To hold onto the record a little bit longer.

“Keep on winning, but don’t beat my record too early,” Stenmark, in an NBCSN interview at the world championships on Tuesday, said he told Vonn on Monday. “She can beat it, but not this year. Maybe next year.”

Stenmark won his 86 World Cup races between 1974 and 1989, with 46 in giant slalom and 40 in slalom. He has said he raced one downhill — the most daunting course in Kitzbuehel, Austria — and minimal super-Gs. The super-G was not run on the World Cup until a little more than halfway into his career.

Stenmark made 231 World Cup starts, according to the International Ski Federation, and raced for the last time just before his 33rd birthday. Vonn is already at 371 starts, nearing the women’s record of 408 held by retired Austrian Renate Goetschl. Vonn turns 33 on Oct. 18.

Vonn and Stenmark first met last Feb. 23 at a World Cup race in Stockholm, where Vonn’s first question to the Swede was, “How’d you do it? How’d you get so many wins?”

On Monday, Stenmark told Vonn that if she beats his record, she also must win “Dancing with the Stars,” as Stenmark did on the Swedish version of the show in 2015.

“If you help teach me to dance for the show, it’s a deal,” Vonn told him.

This season, Vonn has one win in five World Cup races since her rushed return from breaking her right upper arm in a November training crash. She can’t reach Stenmark’s record this season — there are too few races remaining.

If Vonn goes on a winning tear in the next year, she can break the record before the PyeongChang Olympics.

MORE: Roger Federer takes in World Champs with Lindsey Vonn

Sweden wants to host 2026 Olympics

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — Stockholm staging the 2026 Winter Olympics is “possible and desirable,” the Swedish Olympic Committee stated on Friday.

Chairman Hans Vestberg said a report presented by the Swedish capital about hosting the Games was “an important step” toward a formal bid, expected in March 2018.

The work was “pretty positive,” Sweden Sports Minister Gabriel Wikstrom told news agency TT.

In 2015, Stockholm pulled out the race for the 2022 Games after Swedish politicians refused to give financial backing. Swedish politicians were uncomfortable because of concerns over costs, the environment, post-games use of venues, the environment and other issues.

This time, committee member Anette Norberg said “we have great respect for the economic, social, and environmental issues which must involve sustainable solutions.”

According to the feasibility study, 80 percent of the events would be in Stockholm, while most of the Alpine competitions would be in the northern resort of Are, more than 600 kilometers (400 miles) from the capital. A few skiing events would be in Falun, 215 kilometers (130 miles) northwest from there.

The report has a budget of approximately 13.6 billion kronor ($1.5 billion), with the International Olympic Committee chipping in with some 6.7 billion kronor ($760 million).

“We have good capacity within the existing infrastructure and modern winter sports facilities,” said city council member Emilia Bjuggren, adding, “There is already “a (popular) demand and great interest” for facilities needed in connection with Winter Games, such as a skating hall and cross-country skiing.

Stockholm has staged the 1912 Summer Olympics but never a Winter Games.

The cities of Ostersund, Falun, and Goteborg have all mounted failed winter bids.

MORE: 2026 Olympic bidding coverage