The Malik Report
by Monica McAlister on 01/07/14 at 06:14 PM ET
One of the more solid teams to be announced within the last few days for the Olympics; Team Sweden has a mix of veteran leadership and youthful energy.
With six Detroit Red Wings named to the roster, including Henrik Zetterberg named as the Swedish captain it is fellow Red Wing Daniel Alfredsson at age 41 whom worked his way onto the team to and brings experience from four previous Olympic Tournaments.
Mlive's Ansar Khan takes a look at what the 41 year old Swede means to Sweden and what playing for Sweden means to him:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When Daniel Alfredsson decided last summer to play another season, making the Swedish Olympic team was one of his goals.
But he wanted to earn a spot based on his performance this season, not as a career achievement.
He did just that, by having a strong season at age 41 for the Detroit Red Wings.
“I think when I decided I wanted to play another year in the NHL that was the main thing, trying to win the Stanley Cup, but then obviously being an Olympic year that became a goal as well,” Alfredsson said Tuesday, after practice at the Alltel Ice Den. “I was hoping I would stay healthy and play my way on the team. I didn’t want to just have a token spot. I’m really excited to have made the team.
“Olympics is the biggest sporting event there is. You’re there to represent your country and play for a medal. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Late into the Swede's playing career Alfredsson opted to leave Ottawa and play for Detroit in an effort to win a Stanley Cup; his play in Detroit (11 goals with 30 points) earned him a spot with Tre Kronor rather than him just a handed a spot due to the name and prestige.
The 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, will be Alfredsson’s fifth Olympics.
“That’s amazing,” Red Wings and Olympic teammate Niklas Kronwall said. “To be able to play at that level where he’s at, at his age, that really amazes me. I’m sure we haven’t seen (the last) of him. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he sticks around for another few years.”
Alfredsson has excelled on the Olympic stage. In 20 games, he has 11 goals and 12 assists. Having made his first appearance in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, Alfredsson will own the distinction of having played in the Olympics in three different decades.
“Obviously you got to have a long career, you got to play well and you got to be healthy,” Red Wings and Team Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It’s going to be awesome to play with him in another Olympics, just the experience he has.”
Alfredsson ranks third in goals (11) and points (30) on the Red Wings, having appeared in 37 games. He has a plus-8 rating.
After winning gold in 2006 in Torino, Italy, Alfredsson thought the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver was his swan song.
“I tried to appreciate Vancouver because I thought that was going to be my last one, to be honest,” Alfredsson said. “The competition is great, but also everything that’s around the Olympics -- the Olympic Village, all the other athletes.
“It’s pretty unique, the way it’s set up with the Village, you live with a lot of other athletes, get to see how they prepare and what they’ve gone through leading up to this. I’ve been very fortunate to be part of five (including 2014), let alone one.”
Having five Red Wings join him (Zetterberg, Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson and Jonas Gustavsson) makes it more special.
“I think most of us have played with each other one or another time with the national team,” Alfredsson said. “With Detroit, their core group has been together a long time. Bringing them all over is going to be a good cornerstone for our (Olympic) team. With Henrik and Niklas in leading roles it bodes well for our team.”
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