June 28, 2008

Sweden takes home the gold in inline hockey

Just thought I would do a follow-up on my post about the Inline Hockey World Championship as the final took place today.

The final was played between Sweden and Slovakia. Sweden had advanced to final by beating Finland in the quarterfinal (9-3) and USA in the semi (12-8), while Slovakia got there by wins against Czech Republic (6-5 in OT) and Germany (3-2 in OT).

Sweden, which was the defending Champion and had already beaten Slovakia 5-0 earlier in the tournament, was obviously the favorite. They stood up to the pressure and took home the gold after a comfortable 7-3 win. Yay!

Sweden's top scorer was Detroit prospect Dick Axelsson, who had 9 goals and 7 assists in 6 games. He ended up second in points in the tournament behind college hockey player Pat Lee, who had 8 goals and 10 assists in 6 games. Lee couldn't help his USA to a medal though as they lost to Germany, 7-8, in the bronze game.

Directorate Awards:

Best Goalkeeper - Sasu Hovi (FIN)
Best Defenseman - Lee Sweatt (USA)
Best Forward - Linus Klasen (SWE)
MVP - Dick Axelsson (SWE)

Other players from the tournament you might have heard of:

Ales Hemsky, Czech Republic
Karel Rachunek, Czech Republic
Petr Tenkrat, Czech Republic
Lubomir Visnovsky, Slovakia

For full stats from the tournament, check here. Oh and congrats to the Swedish players!

June 27, 2008

William Wallén to the OHL

The 2008 CHL Import Draft took place yesterday, the draft where the Canadian junior teams get a chance to pick European players. Six Swedes where drafted, with the two picks by Mississauga St. Michael's Majors of the OHL probably being the most interesting ones.

Their second round pick was defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was the first Swedish player to be picked in the 2008 NHL draft (14th overall by Ottawa). Mississauga probably decided to take a chance, like they did with André Petersson (selected by Ottawa in the 4th round in this year's NHL draft) last year. That time it didn't work, but time will tell if it will be a successful gamble this year.

Eugene Melnyk owns both Mississauga and Ottawa, which I guess could mean that Ottawa will push for a move to the OHL. Karlsson himself has said that he will discuss it with Ottawa after the development camp that he is participating in at the moment.

Forward William Wallén on the other hand, who Mississauga drafted in the first round, has already made a decision. His father, who also is his agent, has announced that William is planning on crossing the pond.

- William has always been interested in going over there and the only thing that stood in the way yesterday was if Mississauga wouldn't draft him, Peter Wallén tells Hockeymagasinet.com.

- Mississauga has been fantastic with presenting their organization and GM/Head coach Dave Cameron has really expressed their will of getting William. Dave has followed William very carefully and knows exactly what he will get from William.

Wallén is one of many promising Swedish players born in 1991. He is a very skillful forward with a knack for scoring goals. His small size (listed as 5'8"/170 lbs at Elite Prospects) has always been what people talk about, but he has kept on producing a lot of points on every level he has played at so far. He was for example above a point per game in his debut season in the Swedish U20 league last season and also in the games he played with the U17 and U18 Swedish national teams.

It should be interesting to see if he can follow in the footsteps of another Djurgården player, Oscar Möller, who raised his stocks significantly in his NHL draft year after a successful season with the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL in the 06-07 season.

Here are all the Swedes drafted in this year's CHL Import Draft and what their plans are:

Round 1

14 - P.E.I. Rocket (QMJHL): Simon Olsson, C/LW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Has apparently been looking to jump from the USHL, so he will most likely move.

16 - Mississauga (OHL): William Wallén, LW, Djurgården (Swedish U20)
Coming over this season, as said.

21 - Chilliwack Bruins (WHL): Alexander Viklund, LW, Luleå (
Swedish U20)
Haven't decided yet. Will listen to what Chilliwack has to say and discuss with the family.

42 - Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL): Stefan Warg, D, Västerås (
Swedish U20)
Will make his decision later on in the summer. Says he will go with his gut feeling.

Round 2

61 - Mississauga (OHL): Erik Karlsson, D, Frölunda (Swedish U20/SEL)
Will discuss with Ottawa after development camp.

77 - Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL): Jonathan Sääf, G, Borås (
Swedish U20)
Will according to the team play for them in 09-10 season.

June 24, 2008

The Flyers let their chief European scout go

After about 20 years as the chief European scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, Inge Hammarström has been let go. Newspaper Gefle Dagblad had a talk with him.

- Yes, I was informed the day before the draft here in Ottawa. We had discussed an extension, but they had come to the conclusion that they wanted a new voice and we have therefor decided to go separate ways, says Inge Hammarström.

Hammarström, who played NHL hockey in Toronto and St. Louis in the 70s, has had the position since 1990 to be exact. He was the scout that pushed the hardest for the Flyers drafting Peter Forsberg, who was actually only ranked at number 25 before the draft by The Hockey News. This is something he obvious is proud of.

Inge Hammarström thinks his biggest accomplishment was when he found Peter "Foppa" Forsberg and convinced Philadelphia to draft him in the beginning of the 90s. But also thinks that it was weak by the club to trade him away with a bunch of players for Eric Lindros before he even came over to the NHL.

- The club missed a chance to win a couple of Stanley Cups there. It was also sad that they didn't pick Jaromir Jagr, even though I really tried to convince them to draft him, says Inge.

He also thinks that the Flyers not being able to win any titles, during his time with the team, have been the toughest.

- But at the same time I've been well faoured to be able to be in the same organization for such a long time and been part in helping rebuilding the team again.

Swedish goalie Joacim Eriksson ended up being Hammarström's last pick as a Flyers scout. Inge says though that he has already gotten interest from other NHL clubs with few scouts in Europe, so he will probably find a new team soon.

Interesting with the Forsberg/Jagr part - that would have been a fun duo to watch. On the other hand, Forsberg won 2 Cups with Colorado, Jagr won 2 with Pittsburgh and Lindros led Flyers to a Stanley Cup final before his concussion problems started, so it turned out pretty good for the teams.

By the way, Mike Ricci was the player that they picked instead of Jaromir Jagr.

June 22, 2008

08 Draft: Mr. Irrelevant - Jesper Samuelsson

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft took place this weekend as most people here probably know. Personally I had a very busy weekend in general with both the draft and Midsummer celebrations.

The upcoming week at this blog will probably mean a lot of post-draft news and I will begin it all by translating an article from the newspaper Norrköpings Tidningar about what could be another classic late-round pick by Detroit Red Wings. I'm talking about forward Jesper Samuelsson, who was picked last overall in the draft - Mr. Irrelevant.

This year's Midsummer became something quite out of the ordinary for Jesper Samuelsson. Among the herring and the strawberries, the Norrköping native had time to get drafted by the Stanley Cup Champions Detroit Red Wings.

People have noticed Jesper Samuelsson's successful season in Vita Hästen even outside Sweden's borders.

On Midsummer Day, he was selected as number 211 in this year's NHL Entry Draft. The Detroit Red Wings, with the Norrköping native Jonathan Ericsson in the organization, are hoping to see him on the team one day in the future.

- Really fun! This has been an eventful Midsummer, says Jesper.

He has been in contact with Detroit’s chief European scout, Håkan Andersson, since last fall. At one point, he was on special training in Stockholm to show what he can do.

The Detroit management has obvious been impressed by the 20-year-old's hockey knowledge - to Jesper's big happiness.

- It didn't come totally unexpected, but I was a bit nervous because I had not heard from the club in the last month. I sat by the computer and followed the whole draft, says Jesper.

He ended up having to wait a long time before his name was announced. That he was picked at number 211 has no significance, according to him.

- It doesn't really matter. To be drafted by the best team in the world is big, who wouldn't want that?

Calgary and Ottawa have also showed interest for Jesper, but it ended up being Detroit that got the NHL rights for Jesper in the next couple of years.

There will be no time to rest though as Jesper travels to Detroit on July 5 for a nine-day training camp.

- It's going to be very exciting. A good opportunity to show what you can do and at the same time probably a lot of watching and learning. The training is going to be very hard, he says.

Jesper left Vita Hästen this spring. Next season he will be playing in the SEL with Timrå. He has moved in to a lovely duplex apartment in Sundsvall and has been training with his new team for a month now.

- Everything feels great. The amount of training, two times a day, is a bit different than what I'm used to, but I got into it pretty quick, says Jesper.

When do you think you will play in the NHL?

I've no idea about the time span. I take one step at a time and will have to see when my dream becomes true, says Jesper who has been home and celebrated Midsummer in the archipelago of Östergötland.

Celebrations that became something extra thanks to Detroit.

June 19, 2008

New blog feature

I've added a little feature to make it easier for everyone. From now on, every time you see dots under a word, it means you can you move your mouse cursor over the word and get some extra info.

That means I can for example just write SEL and HockeyAllsvenskan and you will by just moving the cursor over the words understand what they mean.

Let me know if there are any problems. :-)

08 Draft: Hockeymagasinet's Top 50 part 2

Here is number 1 to 5 in Hockeymagasinet's special top 50 for the 2008 NHL Draft, as promised. If you've missed the rest of the top 50 and want to know what it's all about, check here.

SEL: Swedish Elite League
SWE-2: HockeyAllsvenskan (division under SEL)
U20: The U20 league in Sweden

1. Erik Karlsson, D, Frölunda (U20/SEL)
2. Jacob Markström, G, Brynäs (U20/SEL)
3. Mattias Tedenby, LW, HV71 (SEL)
4. Anton Gustafsson, C, Frölunda (U20)/Bofors (SWE-2)
5. Kristoffer Berglund, D, Björklöven (SWE-2)/Luleå (SEL)

One day left to the draft!

What do Swedish hockey players do in the summer?

They play inline hockey! OK, far from all of them. Golf and harness racing seem to be the most common interest.

The Inline Hockey World Championship is played during the summers though and it's always fun to see which players are on the Swedish national team. Reason is because there are usually a couple of names that I as a hockey fan recognize.

Last year, 2-time Swedish Champion Per Ledin, who I mentioned before has signed with the Colorado Avalanche, was on the squad. That team ended up going all the way and won the gold.

This year you will find for example Detroit prospect Dick Axelsson, puck wizard and fellow SEL player Linus Klasen and Fredrik Eriksson, who scored the Swedish Championship winning goal in 2006.

The tournament starts on June 21. You find the official site here and Sweden's squad can be found here (PDF-file).

June 18, 2008

Näslund continues in the NHL - where though?

Vancouver Canucks Captain Markus Näslund has decided to play for at least another year in the NHL, but it's far from sure if it will be with the Canucks. That is what he told Örnsköldsviks Allehanda, the local newspaper of his hometown in Sweden, which had an interview with him.

- When I had gotten a bit of a perspective, it wasn't a hard decision to make. I feel very motivated to play in the NHL, says Markus.

Playing for Modo Hockey is not an option though, at least not in the upcoming season.

- No, I want to continue over there, but for which team is far from done.

A clue that Näslund is on move, is that he has sold his house in Vancouver.

- We sold because I was unsure of the future. The door to Vancouver is not closed, but that I end up there is far from a matter of course, says Näslund.

- Money is not the important part, instead I prioritize the social part, what kind of hockey the team plays and what kind of player types they got.

Since Näslund's old agent, Mike Gillis, was named the new GM of the Canucks, Markus has just switched agent. The new one is, Don Baizley, who has been Peter Forsberg's agent since he got drafted. Will we see them playing for the same NHL team too one day? Chances are at least a bit bigger now with Näslund maybe testing free agency.

U20 squad to Summer Junior Camp announced

Sweden always sends their U20 national team to the Summer Junior Camp in Lake Placid, USA. This year's squad has now been announced, which will play against Swedish 2nd-tier league team AIK in Sweden and then against USA White and USA Blue in the States in August.

No real surprises and a lot of the players will probably play in the World Juniors later this year. Nichlas Torp, who missed last season because of an injury, is back though.

You find the squad here (PDF-file).

June 17, 2008

Dick Axelsson on loan to Sweden

21-year-old forward Dick Axelsson was picked up late in the second round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. He just comes off a great rookie season in the SEL, where he had 12 goals and 13 assists in 47 games and also got to play on the national team.

Detroit thought he had showed enough and signed him to a contract about a month ago. Not that surprising though, it became official yesterday that he will go back to Sweden and Djurgårdens IF on loan for one season.

- We're hoping that he will continue developing this upcoming season. He showed really good results in his rookie season and got every possibility to take the next step in his development, says Djurgården's GM Janne Järlefelt.

Thrashers re-sign Hedberg

Goalie veteran Johan Hedberg, now 35 years old, will stay another 2 years in Atlanta. According to Aftonbladet, the salary's total value will be $2.2 million.

- It feels great. It's going to be fun to try regaining the honor we lost this season, says Hedberg.

The Thrashers actually released the news on their website last Thursday, but it was quickly taken down. Now we know it's a done deal though.

June 16, 2008

08 Draft: Hockeymagasinet's Top 50

Anders Östberg over at Hockeymagasinet is presenting his own top 50 for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. What makes the list different from other mock drafts etc is that it's his top 50 list of Swedish players (foreign players playing in Sweden are also included) available for the draft.

He mentions in the introduction text to the list, that it's not just about who will turn into the best player. Instead he takes the NHL into consideration (style of playing, small rinks etc) and sees if the player would be able to fill a role there one day. So a player that has the potential to become a great SEL player one day, might still end up lower on the list because he would never fit in the NHL. Also being passed over in earlier drafts will affect the player's ranking.

The list is now down to the top 5, so I thought I would present player 6 to 50. There are names on the list that not even me as a Swede has heard of, so don't be scared. Maybe you now, thanks to the list, have heard of the unknown Swede, Detroit ends up picking in the third round. ;-)

I should also mention that Östberg has written scouting reports about every player in the list. Since I don't have the time to translate all that though, I might instead eventually post what he said about the top 5 and/or the drafted players. I've on the other hand added links to every player's Elite Prospects profile, so you can still read some about the players.

On to the list - 6 to 50!

SEL: Swedish Elite League
SWE-2: HockeyAllsvenskan (division under SEL)
SWE-3: Division 1 (division under SWE-2)
U18 and U20: The U18/U20 leagues in Sweden
NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association
USHS: United States High School

6. André Petersson, LW, HV71 (U20)
7. Nicklas Lasu, RW, Frölunda (U20)/Bofors (SWE-2)
8. Johan Motin, D, Färjestad (SEL)/Bofors (SWE-2)
9. Daniel Despotovic, RW, Södertälje (U20)
10. Mats Frøshaug, C/RW, Linköping (U20/SEL) -
11. Tim Bränholm, LW, Frölunda (U20)
12. Dennis Bozic, D, Linköping (SEL)
13. David Ullström, C, HV71 (U20)/Borås (SWE-2)
14. Henrik Eriksson, C, Djurgården (U20)
15. Mattias Ekholm, D, Mora (SWE-2)
16. Jens Westin, D, MODO (SEL)
17. Emil Bejmo, C, Skåre (SWE-3)/Färjestad (SEL)/Bofors (SWE-2)
18. Anton Blomqvist, D, Malmö (U20)
19. Johan Erkgärds, C, Skåre (SWE-3)/Färjestad (SEL)/Bofors (SWE-2)
20. Simon Cederborg-Nilsson, LW, MODO (U20)
21. Joacim Eriksson, G, Brynäs (U20)
22. Tobias Forsberg, RW, MODO (SEL)
23. Martin Lundberg, C, Skellefteå (U20)
24. Henrik Thegel, RW, Brynäs (U20)
25. Philip Larsen, D, Frölunda (SEL)/Borås (SWE-2) -
26. Sebastian Erixon, D, Sundsvall (SWE-2)/Timrå (SEL)
27. Stefan Espeland, D, MODO (U20) -
28. Victor Änilane, LW, Rögle (SWE-2)
29. Gustav Nyquist, LW, Malmö (U20)/University Of Maine (NCAA)
30. Robert Johansson, LW, Västerås (U20)
31. Lucas Sandström, RW, Mora (U20)
32. Magnus Nygren, D, Färjestad (U18)
33. Alexander Fällström, RW, Shattuck St. Mary's (USHS)/Djurgården (U20)
34. Erik Gustafsson, D, Northern Michigan Univ. (NCAA)
35. Kenny Källström, D, Leksand (SWE-2)
36. Blaz Gregorc, D, Södertälje (U20) -
37. Robin Olsson, D, Luleå (SEL)
38. Stefan Warg, D, Västerås (U20)
39. Dennis Rasmussen, C, Västerås (U20)
40. Anders Nilsson, G, Luleå (U20)
41. Martin Johansson, C, Västerås (U20)
42. Eddie Läck, G, Leksand (SWE-2)
43. Robin Sterner, C, Färjestad (U18)
44. Thomas Larsson, C, Skellefteå (SEL)
45. Oscar Eklund, Djurgården (SEL)
46. Anders Lindbäck, G, Almtuna (SWE-2)/Brynäs (SEL)
47. Johannes Tornberg, LW, Luleå (U20)
48. Jonathan Johansson, RW, MODO (U20)
49. Markus Hebrant, D, Huddinge (U20)
50. Niclas Lehmann, C, AIK (U20)

Andreas Jämtin to the Rangers

Various Swedish sites are reporting that right winger and former Detroit prospect Andreas Jämtin has signed a two-way contract with the New York Rangers. 25-year-old Jämtin became Swedish Champion last season with SEL team HV71 and had an NHL out-clause in his contract.

He is one of those guys you either love, when he is playing for your team, or hate, when he is on the opposite team - an agitator and grinder with some scoring abilities.

It's the second player that HV71 loses to the NHL in the last couple of days. Jämtin's linemate Per Ledin, who basically is Sweden's answer to Sean Avery minus Avery's Hollywoodish side (dating celebs, interning at Vogue magazine etc), signed with Colorado Avalanche the other day.

Personally I'm a bit surprised that NHL teams are signing Swedish players with this kind of playing style, since it feels like they are pretty common in North America. I'm guessing though that Detroit's Stanley Cup win with 7 Swedes on the team didn't hurt the chances for guys like Jämtin and Ledin to get signed.

June 15, 2008

Lilja plans to stay in the NHL

A little bit more than a week ago, defensive defenseman Andreas Lilja of Detroit Red Wings became the first player born in the same province as me (Scania) to win the Stanley Cup. He came back to Sweden the other day, traveling home from the airport in a car that his family and friends had decorated with a bunch of red and white balloons and the text "Here comes Scania's first Stanley Cup Champion" at the back, and my local paper, Sydsvenskan, had a chat with him.

There have been talks about him returning to Malmö Redhawks from the city I live in, the team where he started his career, but he said in the interview that he has decided to stay in the NHL for at least 4 more years.

- I'm negotiating with Detroit about a new contract, but it was put on ice for the playoffs. I'm counting on everything being done soon.

Lilja said 2 weeks ago to Expressen, that he would be happy with a small raise and Expressen is predicting that he is looking for around $1.2 million per year.

Hockey in Swenglish - The Rebirth

That's right, it's back - Hockey in Swenglish - and it's taking a new approach!

From now on, at this blog, you will find Swedish hockey news of interest to non-Swedish speaking people. The majority of the stuff here will be NHL-related and the news will come from various Swedish newspapers, magazines and websites.

While this blog probably not will be a place for all the latest news, I'm hoping to provide some news pieces or interesting hockey stuff in general from time to time. Especially about Swedish prospects or less known Swedish NHLers, that probably aren't appearing often in North American media.

Enjoy it...while it last. ;-)