The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/19/13 at 10:12 PM ET
Team Sweden captured the World Championship today, defeating Switzerland 5-2, and while Niklas Kronwall's definitely proud of his brother Staffan (who captained the team) having won the first Swedish gold on home ice since 2006, and Damien Brunner's probably paying some lost bets this evening...
One Wings prospect did take part in the Worlds, and he shared a gold-filled post-game dinner with lapsed Wings prospect Dick Axelsson:
But Jarnkrok also played all of 1:06, with all of his shifts coming in the third period, as coach Par Marts rolled three lines for the vast majority of the tournament (especially so after the Sedin brothers and Loui Eriksson joined the team), and over the course of the Worlds, Jarnkrok did play in each and every one of the Swedes' 10 games, but he registered 1 assist, 4 penalty minutes, a -2 and 14 shots on goal over an average of 10:08 played per game.
In retrospect, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation's insistence that Jarnkrok cut short his 9-game stint with the Griffins to head back to Sweden by April 14th, and that he play no NHL games during his 3 weeks in North America...
Well, it makes sense from Sweden's perspective, especially given that the Swedes faced the enormous pressure of winning gold in Stockholm in the last year of a two-year co-hosting of the Worlds with Helsinki, Finland...But from a Red Wings fan's perspective, there's definitely a "WTF?" factor.
According to Aftonbladet, part of the festivities involved Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg being inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation's Hall of Fame today, and Nicklas Lidstrom served alongside the pair as an ambassador, so I'm sure it was a good day for them...
And Per Bjurman reports that the Wings' Swedes sent their congratulations (roughly translated):
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings: "Too damn fun! I followed the game via a link on my computer, and yes, I became very proud. I think they played a perfect World Championship tournament. They were a little rough at the beginning but they eventually proved their critics wrong as they achieved their goal. It was tremendously exciting to know Sweden found out that Daniel and Henrik are two of the world's best hockey players, too. They did what they could and a lot more. It makes you inspired for the rest of the playoffs over here."
I watched the game on a Russian website because the IIHF's YouTube streams were blacked out in each and every one of the participating countries, and NBCSN chose to air Indy Car racing instead of the Worlds final (it did air on TSN in Canada), but that's just me.
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings (brother of Tre Kronor captain Staffan Kronwall): I've had goosebumps all day. It's fantastically well done and it's awesome that they won. I'm very proud, and of course I'm proud for my brother but also for the rest of the team. Yes, about being Swedish, put simply. Congratulations to the guys, sincerely. They were rough-hewn at first, but they stuck together brilliantly and showed everyone. It's great."
If you want to read more about Staffan, Swedish hockey blogger and friend of TMR Marie Hallman penned an interview with Staffan that still reads well when plugged into Google Translate. Niklas and Staffan are from the Stockholm suburbs, so it's really a hometown win and then some for the Kronwall family.
No word as to how much money Damien Brunner lost betting against his Swedish teammates...
In other news, at the Memorial Cup, Martin Frk registered an assist as his Halifax Mooseheads attempted to rally from a 4-0 deficit against the host Saskatoon Blades, but the Mooseheads' comeback fell short and Halfiax lost 5-2.
Both the London Free Press's Ryan Pyette and the Canadian Press report that Frk had some "close but no cigar" chances when Halifax was down 1-0, and Sportsnet just posted a highlight clip from the game:
As Sportsnet reports, the Mooseheads could've earned a bye to the Memorial Cup semifinal if they'd won (they defeated Portland 7-4 on Saturday), but their 1-and-1 record places paramount importance on winning their 3rd and final round robin game against London on Wedneday (the 22nd) if they are to advance.
The Memorial Cup is kind of weird: the four teams (the OHL champion, QMJHL champion, WHL champion and the team that hosts the tournament) play round-robin games against each other, and if any team loses 2 games, they're usually toast, but the team or teams with 2-and-1 or 3-and-0 records get "byes" to the semifinal, and the second and third-place finishers play in a semifinal play-in game.
And the Grand Rapids Griffins still lead the Toronto Marlies 3-2 in their second round series, but they dropped a 4-1 decision on home ice Saturday night, and they've traveled to Toronto to play Games 6 and 7 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The winner of the series will advance to play the Oklahoma City Baronsin the AHL's Western Conference Final.
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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.