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 Sedin. Daniel 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.
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:
Jhonas Enroth — Buffalo Sabres
Jonas Gustavsson — Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Lundqvist — New York Rangers
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
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