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Henrik Sedin will skip Sochi Games with injury

by James Murphy

MONTREAL -- Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin won't play for Sweden in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I'm going to stay at home," Sedin said Thursday night after the Canucks' 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, though he added that he was "very confident" he'll be ready to return when the Canucks resume play on Feb. 26 against the St. Louis Blues. "I need rest; I need rehab and I'm going to get a few days of recovery. It's right where they thought it was at first. It wasn't a whole lot worse but it's just a matter of feeling it confident-wise and feeling 100 percent.

"I don't think I'm there so that's why I made this decision."

Sedin was playing through a hand injury that required him to wear a splint when his ribs were injured by a cross-check from Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal on Jan. 16. Sedin played in the Canucks' next game two nights later against the Calgary Flames, but left in the second period. His streak of playing in 679 consecutive games ended Jan. 21 when he did not dress against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sedin missed six games due to the rib injury before playing Monday and Tuesday. But he was unable to take faceoffs and was seen in discomfort on the bench. Sedin said he didn't see any point in risking further injury or not being able to help the Canucks or his Swedish teammates.

"Number one, I couldn't take faceoffs and for me that's a big thing of knowing where you are," Sedin said. "Then you watch the Games and there is still some contact there and I don't see a reason for maybe going over there and making it worse. I would've felt awful going over there and then coming back and not being able to play because we have a huge stretch after the Olympics where we need to get back on track. So that's one of the main reasons why I made this decision. "I felt responsible to myself, to my teammates here and to my Swedish teammates. But to go over there and not be 100 percent and then to come back 100 percent would've been worse. So that's how I saw it."

Sedin also acknowledged that having won gold with Sweden in 2006 lessened the sting of the decision to pass up the Games.

"It's not every time you get an opportunity to go over there. It's not every year and it's every fourth year and it's tough to make the team," he said. "So I guess that I've been fortunate enough to be part of a winning team at the Winter Olympics and it's something I'm always going to remember. For me it made my decision a little bit easier."

Earlier Thursday, Canucks coach John Tortorella announced Sedin would be held out of the final two games before the Olympic break, saying that "he's not as effective as we need him to be right now."

Tortorella said wasn't part of the decision-making process.

"Quite honestly it's none of my business," Tortorella said. "That's his call; that's his family's call. It's for his country. But if you're asking me as a hockey coach for a team he plays for after the Olympics, I think it's the best thing for him to get him healthy. So we have had a number of conversations here for the last little while, him and I try to stay away from it.

"For me and for the big picture of this hockey club, it's certainly good news because hopefully he'll be totally healthy when he comes back."

Sedin said he was grateful but not surprised at the respect and support Tortorella continues to show for him.

"He's been great all year," Sedin said of Tortorella. "He's been great all year. He backs up the players and he knows where we come from and understands what a privilege it is to play in the Olympics. But he also understands where we are as a team and where I am. So I think it was great to hear but he's been like that from day one. I think every hockey guy - doesn't matter if it's a general manager, coaches, teammates - they understand what kind of a tournament that it is."

Sedin has nine goals and 40 points in 52 games this season, his 13th in the NHL.

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