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NHL won’t allow Swedish Olympian players to celebrate in Stockholm

I was quite curious as to whether the Red Wings' Swedes--Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist--would take part in the Swedish Olympic Federation's reception for Swedish Olympians in Stockholm on Monday.

In theory, each of the Swedes' NHL players had to ask their respective teams whether they could skip a day of practice by noon on Saturday, and in the Wings' cases, the team's games in Montreal on Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th would've required a major revision in the Wings Swedes' travel plans.

According to Expressen's Mattias Ek, the NHL chose to take care of the problem by nixing any sort NHL'er participation in said event:

NHL Puts an End to Swedish Gold Celebration

Sochi: the NHL has decided that all NHL players will fly back to North America just hours after the Olympic final. Thus, there won't be any players taking part in the gold celebration for Tre Kronor athletes in Stockholm on Monday.

"It's sad that it had to come to this," says Swedish Ice Hockey vice-president Peter Forsberg [not that Forsberg--George's note] to SportExpressen.se.

The NHL and NHLPA have put their feet down. Their predetermined flight lans will take place as soon as the Olympic tournament is over on Sunday evening.

The Tre Kronor's gold final against Canada starts at 1 PM Swedish time. At its conclusion, medals will be awarded on the ice at th Bolshoi arena.

If the Tre Kronor would win gold, there would be no reception for the team in Stockholm, as there was after Olympic gold in Turin in 2006.

Instead, they'll wait to board a charter plane departing at 10 PM Swedish time from Sochi to North America. There, the Swedish NHL players will show up nd share the plane with the U.S. Olympic team.

The Bronze-winning Finns fly back even earlier, while Canada will take the third and final charter back to North America.

"You'd think that the International Olympic committee and the NHL should've had plans for a gold-winning team being allowed to go home and receive a home reception before the league resumes," says Peter Forsberg, vice-chairman of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, to SportExpressen.se.

AIK Skelleftea Jimmie Ericsson and Washington's Marcus Johansson are the only of the Tre Kronor's Olympic team flying to Stockholm on Monday afternoon. Johansson is flying to Sweden primarily to deal with passport issues.

Aftonbladet's Hans Abrahamsson confirms:

NHL teams stop heroes' celebration

"They've dismissed it out of hand and decided what would happen"

Soch: Now it's decided. NHL players are flying back to North America immediately after the Olympic final.

Team owners put a stop to any possible gold celebration in Stockholm.

"They dismissed it out of hand and said what would happen," says Tre Kronor press officer Anders Feltenmark.

Last night the Swedish players were going to leave in a hurry, returning to North America immediately after the Olympic final on a chartered plane--or they could've flown with the Swedish Olympic committee's plane to Stockholm, departing on Monday. But first they had to get clearance from their teams, and they received a straight "no.'

"Of course it's a little disappointing. But the NHL owners emphasized that the Olympic agreement has to be followed to the letter. This means that all the players will have to fly back with the NHL-chartered planes. The NHL dismissed this out of hand and decided what would happen," says Tre Kronor press officer Anders Feltenmark.

This means that there might be Olympic gold for the Tre Kronor but that the Swedish people won't have any opportunity to celebrate with the team. Just hours after the final whistle the planes take off for the United states. Other than Skelleftea captain Jimmie Ericsson and Washington's Marcus Johansson, who must renew his visa, who are flying to Stockholm tomorrow.

This morning the Tre Kronor held a game meeting followed by an optional morning skate. Only four players, Henrik Tallinder, Jakob Silfverberg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and goalie Jonas Gustavsson, were on the ice.

Par Marts is in his second final in less than one year.

"We're as well-prepared as we can be. I hope it's not too much, instead, just right," says Marts.

The Tre Kronor has always been meticulous when it comes to scouting their opponent: "I've tried to fight for playing Swedish hockey and not getting into the hockey that the Canadians play. I think that's the key, that we attack," says Marts.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

It’s pretty clear I hope the Swedes win, but let’s be honest: ownership is owed the rest of the season, and as much as they might be dicks, these guys are expected to be professionals…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/23/14 at 05:21 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I understand the owners’ rationale. The NHL season resumes on Tuesday with a Carolina-Buffalo game, the Wings and 7 other teams get back to work on Wednesday, and by Thursday, every NHL team will be playing.

The NHL also spent MILLIONS of dollars on those charters, and they don’t want players’ gear to be lost willy-nilly, never mind the Swedes nursing hangovers or getting delayed in terms of flying home, so it’s hard to argue against them.

It was one thing when Turin and Stockholm were a 90-minute flight’s worth of distance between each other; Sochi and Stockholm are 1,450 miles apart, and on top of that distance, the players would have to immediately find ways to get back to their respective North American teams’ cities, which would be a clusterf***.

It’s just too big of a mess this time around.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/23/14 at 05:35 AM ET

RockWestfall711's avatar

One more reason to never do this again.

Posted by RockWestfall711 from Las Vegas on 02/23/14 at 06:00 AM ET

Avatar

In a perfect world, the winners get to celebrate, but as Chet so accurately pointed out, the NHL accommodated the desire of the players to participate and the NHL needs to get back to business.

Posted by pcoffey on 02/23/14 at 08:35 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.