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Swedish coach sees different Larsson on Devils

Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 9:54 AM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- During a recent trip to the East Coast of the United States to catch a glimpse of potential candidates for the 2013 World Championship team in May, Swedish National ice hockey coach Par Marts quickly learned that New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson had taken on a different role this season.

"He's a different player now because in Sweden he was more of an offensive player with puck control, passing, and he played a lot on the power play," Marts told NHL.com. "He doesn't play the power play as much now and he's going to have to adjust to this kind of hockey."

Marts was asked if Larsson was a player on his radar for consideration for the World Championship, which will take place between 16 countries from May 3-19 in Finland and Sweden.

"Definitely -- we need some right-handed defensemen so he could be, yes," Marts said.

Adam Larsson
Adam Larsson
Defense - NJD
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 4
SOG: 12 | +/-: 4
There's no doubt Larsson's role has changed a bit this season with the Devils as he is concentrating more on his defensive game. He's been earning more than a full minute more of ice time on the penalty kill than the power play in his second NHL season.

"For him, it's good to be on the PK, because you have to work twice as hard as the power play, but also have to be smart," Devils defenseman Andy Greene told NHL.com. "It forces you to play sound defense and will give him confidence moving forward going against some of the bigger, better top lines in the League."

Marts said it's different for him seeing Larsson playing a bigger role on the penalty kill.

"That's odd for us to see, with the type of [offensive] ability he has," Marts said. "He can't make any mistakes because the opponents are so good, so they can score immediately. I think he's got to adjust to that kind of hockey -- playing it simple and trying to take care of his defense first.

"But I hope they will use him in other things, too, because he has those kinds of tools."

Larsson has played in two World Junior Championships for Sweden, earning a bronze medal at the 2010 WJC and finishing fourth at the 2011 tournament.

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I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight.

— Columbus forward Nick Foligno on scoring the overtime goal after telling the Blue Jackets in the locker room that he would win the game