SOCHI -- Swedish left wing Daniel Sedin is getting ready to play in a major international hockey tournament without his center and best friend.
Strange? Yeah, just a bit.
The last time Daniel and Henrik Sedin did not play together in an international tournament was at the 1998 World Junior Championship. That was Henrik's lone tournament without Daniel, just as the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be Daniel's lone tournament without Henrik, who had to remove himself from the Swedish roster because of bruised ribs that had been keeping him out of the Vancouver Canucks lineup.
Sweden opens play in Group C on Wednesday (noon ET, USA) against the Czech Republic.
"It's tough, for him too," Daniel Sedin said after practice Tuesday. "Not to be part of this, it was tough for him to make that call, but it was necessary. It'll be good for him to get some rest."
Nicklas Backstrom has inherited the duties of being Sedin's center in Sochi with Loui Ericsson on the other side.
"Definitely big skates to fill," Backstrom said. "We all know what [Henrik Sedin] is capable of doing."
However, starting Wednesday the focus will be on Daniel, because even though he has 798 points over 966 NHL games, there are still some questions regarding his overall effectiveness when he doesn't have his brother beside him on the ice.
Sedin had one point in Vancouver's 14 games preceding the Olympic break; Henrik Sedin missed eight of those games and was playing hurt in the other six.
"I think the change of scenery comes at a great time [for Sedin]," Swedish forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "New players, a new atmosphere and everything -- we know how valuable he can be scoring goals and making plays. He's been fantastic for us."
Sedin said Backstrom is the ideal replacement for his brother because their games are quite similar in that they like to get the puck, hold the puck, and then skate with it before dishing it off.
"That's something I'm used to," Sedin said. "It should be easy."
He also thinks it could help his game when he gets back to Vancouver and ideally his brother is ready to return to the lineup.
"When I was injured three years back it helped our game when I got back because Henrik got to play with other players," Sedin said. "It opened his eyes and his thinking of the game. So I think it'll be good for us when he gets back."
For now, Sedin will have to try to make a difference without the player who has long helped him be a difference maker in Vancouver and for Sweden. One twin is representing his country at the Olympics while the other is at home in Vancouver watching.
It's definitely different, but not necessarily bad.
"To me he looks pretty good out there," Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg said of Sedin, "and I'm pretty sure he's going to have a good tournament."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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