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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.

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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."

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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.

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Sunday Long Read: Blackhawks now kings of Chicago

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- It has been a long, bitter winter here.

The wind, for which this great city is forever associated, has howled off Lake Michigan and often made sub-zero temperatures feel positively arctic. The snow has piled up with unrelenting consistency. One more storm could push the total past 70 inches, making this winter one of the worst in the city's history.

It hasn't been easy on one of America's great sports towns, either.

Chicago's beloved Bears had their season ended by the hated Green Bay Packers in one of the worst ways imaginable when that Discount Double Check guy, Aaron Rodgers, returned from injury to secure a win-or-go-home victory at Soldier Field on a late-game heave.

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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.

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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.

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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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Canada plans to keep Sweden on the defensive

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 8:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Canada arrived at the 2014 Sochi Olympics loaded with offensive superstars.

Canada had 11 of the top 25 scorers in the NHL among its 14 forwards. The rest of the teams in the tournament had a total of nine.

It stood to reason that Canada would be able to steamroll the opposition with its offense.

The Canadians have done that, except they've turned the theory around; they've used offense as their primary source of defense.

Entering the gold-medal game against Sweden on Sunday (7 a.m. ET; NBC, CBC), Canada has scored 14 goals in five games and has allowed three, largely because the puck has spent an inordinate amount of time in the offensive zone without necessarily finding its way into the back of the opposing net.

"I don't think we've had to play a lot [in the] defensive zone, for the most part," Canada captain Sidney Crosby said after practice Saturday. "We've done a good job of getting on the forecheck and possessing the puck. It's a lot better playing that way than having to play in your [defensive] zone."

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Backstrom steps into role as No. 1 center for Sweden

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 7:47 AM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Alex Ovechkin is the engine for everything with the Washington Capitals, but Nicklas Backstrom has always been the carburetor, finding ways to help make the superstar hum at maximum efficiency.

When Sweden came to the 2014 Sochi Olympics without Henrik Sedin and then lost Henrik Zetterberg after the first game of the tournament, Backstrom was back in a customary place as a No. 1 center. Without the two Henriks, the Swedes went from having three world-class centers to one, and a position of strength became a potential weakness.

To this point it hasn't been a problem, and that's part of why Sweden will play for the gold medal Sunday against Canada at Bolshoy Ice Dome (7 a.m. ET; NBC, CBC).

"I don't feel like I have pressure from outside," Backstrom said. "I always put pressure on myself and have high expectations of myself in a tournament like this or when you go into a new NHL season. That's a similar situation. I think that is enough, to put the pressure and expectations I have for myself. Obviously we have a lot of ice time and the coaching staff believes in us, so it is something we have to take care of."

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Henrik Sedin hopes to be ready when play resumes

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 2:38 AM / News

NHL.com

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin participated in a full practice Friday and is optimistic he will be on the ice when the NHL season resumes.

"I was very pleased with the practice and how I felt," Sedin told the Vancouver Sun. "Everything is going the way I wanted it to go, so that's good."

Sedin, who is recovering from a rib injury, could play when the Canucks return against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

"Right now it feels like it's a possibility, for sure," the center said. "We'll take it day by day. Like I said, I felt good today with my shooting, skating and some contact, so it was very positive."

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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals