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World Cup

Daniel Alfredsson likes Team Sweden's chances

Adviser to coaching staff says World Cup could be 'harder than the Olympics'

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson can't wait for the World Cup of Hockey 2016 to start, though he knows it won't be easy.

Alfredsson, the Ottawa Senators senior adviser of hockey operations and an adviser to Team Sweden's coaching staff, is coming off two days of meetings last week in Stockholm that have him feeling very optimistic about his native country's chances of winning the tournament.

"It's going to be a phenomenal hockey tournament, I believe," said Alfredsson, who will join former NHL greats Nicklas Lidstrom and Mats Sundin in helping advise the coaching staff of Rikard Gronborg, Johan Garpenlov and Peter Popovic.

The tournament begins Sept. 17. All games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Video: Chatting with Daniel Alfredsson

Team Sweden will play in Group B with Team Finland, Team Russia and Team North America, which is comprised of players 23 and under from Canada and the United States. Sweden will play Team Russia in the Preliminary Round on Sept. 18 (3 p.m. ET; ESPN).

"There was a day-and-a-half of meetings, which I think was productive, going through the systems, where we're going to play," Alfredsson said. "It's starting to feel more real. We're getting closer. Three weeks before training camp starts. Things are lining up. We obviously like our team. We look forward to it. It's a great setup.

"We're going to go in with the mindset of winning. We like our goaltending. I think our defense is a real strong point of our team. We've got some veteran leadership and experience on the forward side with some youth as well. As in any short tournament, you've got to put it together quick and make it work right away, but we think we have a very good chance."

Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team USA and Team Europe, a pan-European roster of players from countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden, make up Group A.

"This [tournament] is probably even harder than the Olympics because it's three games and you've probably got to win two of them to move on," Alfredsson said. "It's going to be intense, but it's going to be a lot of fun too, because it is the best of the best and everybody's prepared better than a normal Olympics with a real training camp. You don't really have any excuses come puck drop in the first game."

The Senators announced Tuesday that No. 11 will be retired in Alfredsson's honor prior to a game against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 29 at Canadian Tire Centre. Alfredsson played 17 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Senators and is their all-time leader in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108).

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