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World Cup

Canucks teammates united for Team Sweden

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson skate together during first practice

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Team Sweden put its potential World Cup of Hockey 2016 forward lines on display at Scandinavium on Monday. If they hold up, the Vancouver Canucks also will get a sneak peek into what their new first line could look like this season.

Center Henrik Sedin and left wing Daniel Sedin were joined on one of the top two lines by Loui Eriksson, who signed a six-year contract with the Canucks on July 1, in part because it opens the opportunity for him to play with the Sedins on a regular basis.

The Sedins and Eriksson have played together one other time. At the 2013 IIHF World Championship, they combined for 22 points in four games to help Sweden win the gold medal.

Team Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg was an assistant for Sweden at that tournament. He said the chemistry they showed three years ago played a significant role in his decision to put them together at the start of this training camp.

"That's a pretty big part of it," Gronborg said. "I think those guys are thinking hockey alike. I think they like to play with each other and they feed off each other. It's a great combination."

Video: Analyzing the Canucks' signing of Loui Eriksson

Getting the opportunity to reestablish the chemistry they had three years ago before getting to Vancouver could be significant for the Canucks too.

"It should be a great fit," said Henrik Sedin, who was named Team Sweden captain Monday. "[Eriksson] is a really smart player. You can tell right away when you step on the ice with him he seems to find the right spots. We know where he's going to be. He's smart on the forecheck. None of us are super-fast skaters or strong in the corners. We try to rely on our smarts and being in the right spot, so it's fun to play with a guy like that."

THE REST: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg, formerly a Capitals prospect, were together with Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist on what could be called Team Sweden's second line.

The third line on Day 1 seemed to be more of a forechecking, defensive unit with Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger between Penguins left wing Carl Hagelin and Anaheim Ducks right wing Jakob Silfverberg.

"I really enjoy playing with those two," Hagelin said. "They're reliable defensively like myself, and I think we can do a lot of work on the back check and also spend some time in the corners with offensive support."

The fourth line featured Colorado Avalanche center Carl Soderberg and left wing Gabriel Landeskog with Ducks forward Rickard Rakell, who normally is a center but was at right wing Monday.

Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund split shifts with Rakell on the fourth line. Backlund replaced injured Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg on the roster last week.

On defense, Gronborg had Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman together. Niklas Hjalmarsson (Blackhawks) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes) also were a steady pair. Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson worked with Hampus Lindholm (Ducks) and Mattias Ekholm (Predators).

THEME OF THE DAY: Gronborg opened training camp by keeping the players on the ice for approximately 90 minutes, not including the break they took halfway through so the ice could get resurfaced.

Gronborg said the main goal of the long practice was to work on the forechecking system they want to use in the tournament.

"Just kind of sorting things out, what we need to do to get everybody on the same page when it comes to the forecheck," Gronborg said. "There were also a couple of rushes on the fly, and also the 180 [degree] perspective of that is how to accept the rush. Those are the things we wanted to accomplish [Monday] and sort out."

Team Sweden has morning practices scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before it departs for Helsinki late Wednesday afternoon.

Team Sweden plays Team Finland in a pretournament game at Hartwall Arena on Thursday (Noon ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports). It faces Team Finland at Scandinavium on Saturday (Noon ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports) before leaving Sunday to go to Washington, where it plays Team Europe in a pretournament game at Verizon Center on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports 2).

HE SAID IT: Gronborg on the erroneous report that surfaced Sunday of goalie Henrik Lundqvist sustaining an injury that would prevent him from playing in the World Cup:

"I'm not walking around worrying about players being hurt because we're playing hockey. Guys are going to get hurt. I didn't even know that was out until he actually texted me and said, 'There is some report of me being hurt and I'm not.' Like I said, I'm not worrying about players being hurt."

Lundqvist was a full participant in practice Monday. He said he still feels some pain in his side, a result of getting hit in the ribs by a puck in practice last week, but it does not affect his mobility or reach and it will not cause him to miss any time.

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