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World Cup

Henrik Sedin named Team Sweden captain

Canucks center takes over leadership role at World Cup after injury to Henrik Zetterberg

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin couldn't call it a dream come true because he never once dared to imagine the honor he officially received Monday. 

Sedin was named the captain for Team Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey 2016. Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin and Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson were named alternate captains.

Henrik Sedin replaces injured Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, who was named Team Sweden's captain on Aug. 11 but had to withdraw from the tournament last week because of a knee injury.

"I would never imagine I would ever have the 'C' on my jersey for the national team, especially in a tournament like this," Sedin said after his first practice as captain at Scandinavium. "As a kid you first dreamt about playing for MODO, your hometown team. Once you do that, of course it's the national team, but we've never seen ourselves as guys who are going to be stars."

Except Sedin is a star in the NHL, albeit a humble and quiet star. He's also been Vancouver's captain since 2010 and a player for Sweden's national team on and off since 1999. The World Cup will be Sedin's eighth international tournament with the national team. He has appeared in 70 games for Sweden and helped it win gold at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

Sedin, his brother Daniel and goalie Henrik Lundqvist are the three players on Sweden's World Cup roster who are holdovers from the Olympic team 10 years ago.

"His experience is invaluable in a tournament like this," Team Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said. "He's been around and had success nationally as well as in the National Hockey League. For me and the rest of the staff it was pretty natural for him to be the guy."

Sedin, though, doesn't view himself as "the guy" for Team Sweden. 

"It's going to be, I'm guessing, captaincy by committee," Sedin said. "It's a lot of guys who can step up."

Gronborg is banking on that happening. 

"We're Swedish, we like to have leadership by committee," Gronborg said. "There's a lot of guys in that locker room that can definitely push everyone else and have the authority to do so. We really encourage everyone to make each other accountable. It's a huge plus for us."

It also means Sedin doesn't feel any pressure to try to be something he's not in an attempt to get the team on the same page quickly, which is a must in a short tournament like the World Cup.

He remembers watching how former Sweden captains Mats Sundin (2006 Olympics) and Nicklas Lidstrom (2010 Vancouver Olympics) handled the role. What they did helped shape his captaincy in Vancouver and that's the model he plans to bring to Team Sweden.

"I think a lot of people mistake the role of the captain, even in the NHL," Sedin said. "It's not so much one guy stepping up and rallying the troops, it's a lot of team commitment. Being around Lidstrom and [Daniel] Alfredsson, and Sundin in the Olympics in '06, you saw how they prepared. They weren't the rah-rah type of guys. They came in and worked hard. They were early at the rink. They prepared." 

They also won, which is why they're still celebrated in Sweden today. 

Sedin is well respected, but captaining his country to a World Cup championship could put him on the level of Sundin, Lidstrom and Alfredsson in the Swedish hockey world.

"You grow up watching a lot of the national teams and the guys who were captains back then, the star players, those were the guys you looked up to," Sedin said. "It's an honor."

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