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2014 Olympics

Missing Backstrom, depth, lead to Sweden's undoing

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 1:34 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Sweden's task of toppling Canada already was a giant one without world-class centers Henrik Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg, but losing the services of Nicklas Backstrom right before the gold-medal game Sunday at Bolshoy Ice Dome made the job even more difficult.

After about 10 minutes of even play Canada controlled the contest and claimed gold with a dominant performance. The Swedes, without their top three centers, struggled to generate offense in the final 50 minutes and were overwhelmed by Canada's depth, particularly down the middle.

Backstrom was suspended for the game by the International Olympic Committee for a doping-control violation, Sweden general manager Tommy Boustedt said. Swedish team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said the positive test was for an elevated level of pseudoephedrine, a substance found in the allergy medication Backstrom takes.

"I think if we are going to compete with Canada we need all of our best players here and that didn't happen," Sweden coach Par Marts said. "We had some injuries, and of course Backstrom, that happened with him and of course that affected us. We are only human beings sitting in there."

Canada's defense, puck-possession led to gold medal

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 1:33 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Sidney Crosby played on what may have been the greatest team Canada ever has sent to an international hockey tournament, the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship team that was stacked with future NHL stars and steamrolled its way to the gold medal.

Crosby was joined by five of his teammates from that 2005 team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and he thinks the team that won gold for Canada on Sunday might be even better.

"As far as defensively, we didn't give up much, especially the last three games here," Crosby said. "The Latvia game, I don't know if a lot of people gave us credit for shutting that team down with 15 shots or whatever [actually 16]. Our [defensemen] were so good, our goaltending was so strong, our forwards … were playing in the offensive end and they were so good at getting us out [of our end].

"Yeah, I think defensively we were pretty dominant all the way through."

Canada allowed three goals on 129 shots in six Olympic games, a team save percentage of .977, and allowed none in its final 164:19 of play.

It was a defensive Picasso.

Failed test keeps Backstrom from Olympic final

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 12:48 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- Sweden center Nicklas Backstrom missed the gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Sunday against Canada because of a failed doping-control test, Swedish hockey officials said.

The positive test was for excess levels of pseudoephedrine, which was the result of an over-the-counter allergy medicine being taken by the player, Swedish team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said during a press conference Sunday. Waldeback said the medicine was Zyrtec-D, which Backstrom has taken intermittently during the past seven years, according to his NHL club, the Washington Capitals.

According to Swedish hockey general manager Tommy Boustedt, the suspension was levied Sunday by the International Olympic committee, the governing body for all Olympic competition. It came less than two hours before the game, after a hearing with the IOC disciplinary committee.

Backstrom said he last was tested Wednesday after Sweden defeated Slovenia in the quarterfinals.

Sweden lost the gold-medal game to Canada 3-0 at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

"I want to say I have absolutely nothing to hide; I have allergy problems," Backstrom said at a press conference after the game. "I've taken Zyrtec-D for many years. It was a little shocking to me, to be honest with you, but at the same time I am here right now and I've got to deal with it."

Yzerman won't return as Canada's GM

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 12:00 PM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

Steve Yzerman said Sunday that he will not return as the executive director for Canada's Olympic team in 2018. He made the announcement following Canada's 3-0 victory against Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Yzerman, 48, also was the executive director of the Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"Time to move on," Yzerman told reporters while adding it was time to let someone else get a shot at it.

Statement from the Capitals on Nicklas Backstrom

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 11:46 AM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

ARLINGTON, Va. Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Team Sweden's Olympic gold-medal game on Sunday due to the allergy medication he has been taking intermittently for seven years, including this season while playing for the Washington Capitals to combat severe allergies. The medicine was approved by the Swedish national team. It is not anticipated that this will impact his participation in NHL games.

Statement regarding Nicklas Backstrom

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 11:34 AM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

SOCHI, RUSSIA - National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding Nicklas Backstrom:

"We understand that Nicklas Backstrom tested positive for a substance banned 'in competition' by the International Olympic Committee. It is our further understanding that the positive test was the result of a common allergy medication taken by the player knowingly, with the approval of the team doctor and without the intention of gaining an illegal or improper performance-enhancing benefit. In addition, the specific substance that resulted in the positive test is not currently on the League's Prohibited Substances List.

"Subject to confirmation of the facts as we understand them, and given the fact that the substance is neither prohibited in the NHL nor was used in an improper manner here, we do not anticipate there being any consequences relative to Nicklas' eligibility to participate in games for the Washington Capitals."

Price, Karlsson, Kessel named Olympics' best

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 10:10 AM / 2014 Olympics

NHL.com

Canada goaltender Carey Price, who posted back-to-back shutouts in the semifinals and gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was named the best goaltender at the tournament.

Price finished the Olympics with a shutout streak of 164 minutes, 19 seconds. The last goal he allowed was to Latvia's Lauris Darzins with 4:19 remaining in the first period of the quarterfinals. He made 31 saves in a 1-0 blanking of the United States in the semifinal and made 24 saves against Sweden in a 3-0 win in the gold-medal game Sunday.

The Montreal Canadiens goaltender finished the tournament with a 5-0 record, a 0.59 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. He allowed three goals on 106 shots.

Selanne ends international career with memorable win

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 3:30 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI – Teemu Selanne led the skate around the ice, pointing to the crowd, pounding on his chest, on the "C" stitched to his blue and white sweater, smiling the entire time. Finland was watching, adoring, admiring, and maybe even crying.

Taking off your country's colors for the last time can be one of the hardest things for any athlete to do. Particularly for someone of the legendary status that Selanne carries across Finland and well beyond its borders.

For 26 years he has worn his national team jersey with pride and with love. But Selanne, now 43 and ready to retire after the NHL season, insists that the bronze-medal game at Bolshoy Ice Dome on Saturday will be his last for Finland.

He went out with quite a bang.

U.S. forced to face tough questions after loss

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 2:49 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI – Less than a day earlier, the United States was on top of the Olympic hockey mountain. Twenty-two hours and two bitter defeats later, the Americans were left with clearly visible psychic scars and no medal.

A comprehensive 5-0 victory by Finland on Saturday afternoon at Bolshoy Ice Dome delivered the Finns the bronze medal, the country's fourth podium finish in the past five Olympics.

The Americans finished fourth, but it was not an accomplishment viewed with pride by an American team that had designs on bettering the silver it won in Vancouver four years ago.

"Coming into the final round I thought we were playing well," said American forward Zach Parise, the team's captain. "I'm kind of embarrassed where we're at now."

Where the Americans were at Saturday night was an almost unthinkable proposition when they faced Canada here Friday night in the second semifinal of the 2014 Sochi Olympics men's hockey tournament. They took the ice as the darlings of the tournament, boasting an offense that was running roughshod, averaging almost five goals a game in a tournament where goals have been scarce.

Three keys for Canada, Sweden in Olympic Final

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 10:51 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu and Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writers

SOCHI -- Daniel Alfredsson was in his first full season playing for the senior team at Frölunda in Sweden's top league and still a few months away from being drafted by the Ottawa Senators when his country met Canada in the gold medal game of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Sweden won that day in a shootout, with Peter Forsberg's one-handed goal immediately becoming an iconic moment in Olympic history.

"I was at home with my parents, watching on TV," Alfredsson said. "We were jumping up and down once [Tommy Salo] made the save on [Paul] Kariya."

Sweden and Canada have a large body of work against each other in international play, but not much at the highest level. The two countries have met twice at the Olympics with NHL-dominant rosters, but neither matchup came in an elimination game.

There was a meeting in the 1984 Canada Cup final and the semifinals of the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. But the level of Swedish hockey has improved since then, starting with Forsberg's generation and moving forward to the current group of players.

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2014 OLYMPICS POLL