August 22, 2008

Leafs add another Swedish defenseman

Aftonbladet is reporting today that Swedish defenseman Josef Boumedienne has signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Boumedienne spent the last couple of seasons in Europe. Last year he was back in North America and the AHL though with the Hershey Bears, where he had 42 points in 52 games.

Last time he played in the NHL was with the Washington Capitals in 03-04 season. While he only played 37 games that season, he received a lot of ice time on a weak defensive unit. In 47 career NHL games with Washington, Boumedienne has put up 16 points.

Toronto now got four Swedish defenseman under contract with Anton Strålman, Staffan Kronwall and Jonas Frögren being there already. Will there be any room for "Bom-Bom", as he is called over here, on the big team?

August 09, 2008

Icebreakers - the follow-up

I wrote about the charity team Icebreakers in my posts about Peter Forsberg and I thought that it was time to do a follow-up on how it went in the two games the team played this week.

On the Tuesday, they played against SEL team Luleå. Luleå is predicted to finish around the bottom of the SEL this upcoming season and some of their better players weren't playing in the game, so the 11-4 win for the Icebreakers didn't come as a surprise. Forsberg actually ended up being the best scorer in the game with 3 goals and 1 assists, while Vancouver's Mattias Öhlund and Washington's Nicklas Bäckström both had a 3-point game.

I haven't found much info about the Icebreakers game in Turku, Finland, the day after. The challenge they would take on there was a lot harder though as they played a team called the Läkerol Dark Allstars filled with NHLers. Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, Montreal's Saku Koivu and Stanley Cup Champion Valtteri Filppula were some of the players on the team and they were actually coached by Mike Keenan.

The only thing I know about the result is that the game ended 5-5 and that the Icebreakers won the shootout which followed.

The Icebreakers also visited and donated toys to children's hospitals in Luleå and Turku during their visits to the cities.

Some links of interest:

August 06, 2008

Talk about bad luck

18-year-old forward Mattias Tedenby was picked by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the NHL Draft this summer and is one of the most promising Swedish junior players.

To the left (credit to Hockeymagasinet for the picture), you see the helmet with cage he was playing with last season - a season where he got to test out playing in the SEL with HV71. This fall he is suppose to start his first full year in the SEL and he decided this summer to drop the cage.

Something he probably regrets now.

Tedenby is at the moment with the U20 Swedish national team at the Summer Junior Camp in Lake Placid, USA, which you maybe remember me writing about in June. In Sweden's 3-2 OT win against USA White yesterday, which was his second game with a normal visor, Tedenby went down to block a shot and ended up getting the puck straight on mouth.

Result? 4 lost teeth and 40 stitches in the mouth according to Jnytt. Ouch!

They are hoping that he will be back in action in about a week, but it hasn't been decided yet if he will stay in the USA or travel home earlier.

Some links where you can follow the camp:

Rasmus Juell - a name to remember? is reporting that the U20 team of Frölunda has signed a Norwegian center named Rasmus Juell to a 2-year deal. Juell spent last season in North America, playing Midget AAA hockey with Belle Tire Detroit and scored 28 goals and 51 points in 45 games. The 17-year-old was born in 1991 and is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

So what's so special about that?

Well apparently he is a very skillful player, who has basically popped out of nowhere. For example a search for "juell" in the forum of the big hockey community Hockey's Future gives no results and when the junior hockey gurus at Hockeymagasinet calls a Scandinavian player "unknown", I will take their words for it.

Juell is described by Hockeymagasinet as very skillful offensive center, who is a great skater. He got a good hockey sense with creativity and good technique. A big offensive talent with a lovely sense for scoring goals and a very good shot.

His new coach, Jens Gustavsson, compares him with Danish center Lars Eller, another Frölunda player who went 13th overall in the 2007 NHL Draft.

- We didn't know that much about him. There are a lot of players that want to come to us and we thought that he would have a hard time making it, like many, but he has impressed us greatly. He will play in the first 3 lines for sure and is at the same level as our best players, Jens Gustavsson continues.

It should be said that Frölunda's U20 team is the best in the country and has won the U20 Swedish Championship 3 times in the last 4 years, so a comment like that says a lot about Juell's skill level.

While the SEL team Frölunda hasn't been that good at taking advantage of it, their organization got a knack for finding talented players for their junior teams. For example this year they had Swedish players Erik Karlsson (15th overall) and Anton Gustafsson (21st overall) being taken in the first round of the NHL Draft and Danish forward Mikkel Bødker (8th overall) played in the Frölunda organization before he went to the OHL.

Will Rasmus Juell be another player to add to the group of Frölunda players picked early in an NHL Draft? He should at least be an interesting player to follow this season.

August 05, 2008

More on Foppa

As I wrote earlier today, Peter Forsberg will play in an exhibition game with his charity hockey team, the Icebreakers, tonight. After some more investigation, I found an interview with Foppa in the newspaper Expressen, where he talks about it and the foot injury. The article also mentions that he will play another game with the Icebreakers on Wednesday.

- I will do an evaluation after these two games with the Icebreakers and see where I stand, says Foppa.

He practiced on ice with the other NHL players in Swedbank Arena in Örnsköldsvik yesterday. But Foppa will not travel to Luleå today with just one ice practice under the belt.

- Well I practiced on ice here in Örnsköldsvik on Friday and Saturday too, he says.

And how does it feel?
Pretty good actually.

Does this mean there is a chance you will be back in the NHL before Christmas?
I don't want to speculate about that. I'm in close contact with my doctor, Bertil Romanus, in Gothenburg and we only take it one step at a time.

But you sound more optimistic than a couple of weeks ago?
- I have no trouble with skating, but we don't know yet how the foot will react under hard pressure. As said, first I want to evaluate these two games and then we will see how the continued training will look like.

You will continue with special training program?
- Yes, I will continue working after those guidelines and the training program we started in May.

Forsberg's playing hockey tonight

One of the ongoing discussions last season was Peter Forsberg and his feet - would he play or retire? Eventually he did play and showed that he still got a lot of hockey in him, but injuries - as usual - made him for example miss most of the playoff series against Detroit.

Tonight he's taking his first step towards another season as he will play an exhibition game against SEL team Luleå with his charity team, the Icebreakers. This will be his first test since the NHL playoffs.

He's doctor, Bertil Romanus, says to the newspaper DN that physically, Forsberg is ready to play. It's how it will go in on-ice situations that they are unsure about.

Here is the roster of the Icebreakers in the game against Luleå tonight:

Michal Zajkowski, MODO
Johan Backlund, Timrå

Mattias Timander, MODO
Hans Jonsson, MODO
Tobias Enström, Atlanta Thrashers
Pierre Hedin, MODO
Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks
Douglas Murray, San Jose Sharks
Mattias Öhlund, Vancouver Canucks

Per Svartvadet, MODO
Alexander Steen, Toronto Maple Leafs
Niklas Sundström, MODO
Peter Forsberg, Colorado Avalanche
Markus Näslund, New York Rangers
Samuel Påhlsson, Anaheim Ducks
Nicklas Bäckström, Washington Capitals
Fredrik Modin, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jonathan Hedström, Timrå
Robert Nilsson, Edmonton Oilers
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Joakim Lindström, Anaheim Ducks

August 03, 2008

Mathias Tjärnqvist returns to Sweden and Rögle

A short post from my vacation in central Sweden.

29-year-old forward Mathias Tjärnqvist has been a pretty successful penalty killer in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes, but they ended up letting him go this summer. He has been saying that he wants to stay in the NHL, but his agent said a week ago that Tjärnqvist is leaning towards a year in the SEL as the NHL offers have been so-so.

This has obvious started a bunch of rumors. Instead of going to one of the bigger teams like Linköping, HV71 or Frölunda though, he decided to return to the team where his hockey career started - SEL newcomer Rögle.

The contract is on one year and he will be getting a more offensive role there, playing on the first line.