Sedins, Edler leave World Hockey Championships with gold medals, helmets

Immediately after their elimination from the 2013 NHL postseason (with similar immediacy, even) Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, alongside the madman Alex Edler, accepted the invitation to the World Hockey Championships.

We’ve heard it time and time again: the Worlds mean a very different things for European hockey players. And it’s true. But these Worlds meant even more to the Swedish players, because Sweden wasn’t just a gold medal hopeful — they were the host nation. A win on home ice would make them the first host nation to win the tournament in 27 years, and to underscore how long ago that was, three of the eight nations in that 1986 World Championships – Czechoslovakia, West Germany, and gold medal host the Soviet Union — no longer exist.

On Sunday, Sedin-led Sweden (or Swedin, as it’s known when Daniel and Henrik are in the lineup) got it done, bringing gold to the land of the midnight sun.

When the Sedins were invited, it seemed clear that Sweden desperately needed their help. The Tre Kronor had gone 4-2 in the preliminary round robin at that point, which wasn’t terrible, but one of the two losses came in Sweden’s first game, versus Switzerland. At the time, this was cause for alarm. Little did anyone know that Switzerland would go undefeated the rest of the way, winning their group, slicing through the elimination round, and meeting the Swedes again in the gold medal game.

A win would have been an incredible capper on what was already a remarkable Cinderella story for the Swiss. The silver medal they would be awarded in the case of a loss was to be their first medal since 1953 and only the second silver medal in their history, after a 1935 second-place finish. But they wanted their first gold ever, and they knew it was attainable, since all they had to do was beat Sweden a second time.

Unfortunately, this time around, Sweden had magic twin wizards, and they were the difference in a decisive, 5-1 victory for the home team. Here are your highlights:

It seems strange to think that the Swedes ever trailed in this game, but their domination didn’t begin until after Roman Josi put the Swiss up 1-0, just shy of the fifth minute. The next 55 minutes were all Sweden.

Erik Gustafsson tied the game up a few minutes later, and after Nino Niederreiter was sent to the box for a hit to the head, Sweden struck again on the powerplay, with Henrik Sedin scoring what would turn out to be the game-winner. His celebration produced this awesome photo:

I’m not sure why that car got all those front-row seats.

After Simon Hjalmarsson scored Sweden’s 3-1 goal, Henrik set to work twisting the knife, producing both of the final two goals to cement the victory. He banked the 4-1 goal in off of Loui Eriksson’s skate. Then, he cued the parade of gold helmets by scoring the 5-1 empty-netter with a little over three minutes to go.

The gold helmets aren’t a Worlds thing, by the way. That was entirely Sweden’s innovation, and not everyone thought it was a good idea. Enjoy this rant from a Finnish reporter that thought it was a little over-the-top. Warning: NSFW due to strong language.

Anyway. Gold helmets. (And don’t worry, even though he was ineligible to play in the game due to his suspension for kneeing Eric Staal, Alex Edler still got onto the ice to get his gold hat and medal.)

But the real party came when the Swedish hair metal band arrived!

A few words on the twins’ success: the Sedins dominated the tournament upon their arrival, with Daniel putting up 6 points in 4 games and Henrik putting up 9, leading many embittered Canucks fans to wonder where this sort of dominance was in the NHL postseason, and why the Cup lift pictured below couldn’t have happened with a bigger, silverer trophy.

There were a few things working for the twins in this tournament. A little luck, for one, which can make all the difference over a four-game span. (It’s why it’s never a good idea to jump to total conclusions based on such a small sample of hockey.)

In addition, the Sedins had more space to work with in Stockholm, due to a) the larger ice surface and b) the inferior defensive competition. They saw a lot of Roman Josi versus the Swiss, but if they see a lot of Roman Josi in the NHL, he’s coming over the boards with elite blueliner Shea Weber and Barry Trotz’s best shutdown line. The already diminished open ice will disappear so quickly that Al Gore could make a documentary about it.

But, even acknowledging the reasons they might have had an easier time over there than over here, Daniel and Henrik’s performance at the Worlds serves to remind that they’re still pretty good at this hockey thing. If anything, that’s a cause for optimism, in my opinion, not pessimism.

After all, we heard a lot this year about the Canucks’ window closing and how the Sedins aren’t game-changers any longer, and so on and so forth. Caveats aside, they had the look of guys that can still make an impact.

“We’re not feeling old,” Henrik said after being swept by the Sharks. “We’re 32 years old. We’re going to turn 33 next year. If you look at San Jose’s top guys, they’re older than us. So for us, age is not a problem.”

It wasn’t in this tournament. As they demonstrated in Stockholm, they’ve still got a lot of winning hockey in them.

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17 comments

  1. John
    May 20, 2013

    So on the one hand, the Sedins excelled against far-inferior competition, but on the other hand, this is a cause for optimism? I don’t think you can have it both ways

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 20, 2013

      Yeah, I wasn’t clear on what I meant there and I wound up contradicting myself, I agree. I tweaked the last few graphs.

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      • Tom 1040
        May 23, 2013

        Gee, I never do that.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 20, 2013

      I think the ultimate conclusion is that playoff hockey is hard but also unpredictable. It isn’t as though the twins played poorly against San Jose, for example Jonathan Toews got 0 points through his first 4 playoff games but no one was calling him ‘over the hill’. People are just too fast to rush to judgment over a small sample size.

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  2. Confused
    May 20, 2013

    Was the 3-1 goal…. goal…. not offside?

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    • Sandra
      May 20, 2013

      No. IIHF’s rulebook says:
      The Linesman shall drop his arm to nullify the offside violation and allow the play to
      continue if:
      1. The defending team either passes or carries the puck into the neutral zone,
      2. Or, all attacking players immediately clear the attacking zone by making skate contact with the blue line.

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  3. Viola
    May 20, 2013

    The angry guy talking about the helmets isn’t that the finnish guy and a swede is interwing him? Because the angry guy sure sounds like a finn to my swedish ears. Oh and lets just say that the rest of Sweden now gets why the Sedins are so big in Vancouver.

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  4. Viola
    May 20, 2013

    I forgot, it might amuse you to know that the ‘hair metal band’ is called the poodles:)

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  5. Sandra
    May 20, 2013

    That guy whining about the helmets is actually a Finn that works for the newspaper that did the Sedin paper dolls.

    Also, about the helmets, for those who don’t know:
    When a team wins the SEL-championship they get those prior to the final horn to wear during celebrations on the ice and during the “parade” in the team’s city.
    The national team also gets them when they get back to Sweden after a gold medal in the Olympics/World Championships/World Juniors to wear during the celebrations in Stockholm.
    I guess they decided to use the SEL tradition for Tre Kronor this time since it was at home.

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  6. iain
    May 20, 2013

    um was that henrik taking a slapshot???????
    shurely shome mistake…..

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  7. Rob
    May 20, 2013

    Those Sedins threw the NHL playoffs so they could play for Sweden.
    Don’t let them come back!

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    • mac 'n cheese
      May 21, 2013

      He’s kidding folks! It’s called “sarcasm”!

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  8. Justin
    May 20, 2013

    Just like Jason Krog lit up the AHL, dominating against inferior opponents (see Wiese, Dale) doesn’t really raise my optimism for next year. I’m pretty sure that of the teams left, none of them are rolling out Swiss Guy Number X as their top d-man against the Sedins. (Quick check…Doughty, Kronwall, Seabrook/Kieth, Letang, Karlsson, Chara…how many Norris/Cups is that so far? 9?).

    And as much as I think that opening up the rink might be a good idea (and I do), part of me knows that it shall only allow for Magoo/Sutherland to make terrible calls from further away. (Although, it would take longer for Mason Raymond to go to the corner and fall down/shoot it right into a goalies chest….)

    I would love to see this team get younger and quicker, but understand the restraints of the cap for next year. I think the true test is going to be when the Sedin’s contracts come up.

    Oh, and the Sharks top guys (so far as scoring thus far and sheer domination) Couture and Pavelski? Yeah, they’re not 33/34…they’re 24/29 respectively.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 21, 2013

      Sorry, so your point is that the best defencemen in the NHL are good, and that the Sedins won’t succeed as much against them as against weaker international competition? Isn’t that true of any forward?

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      • Justin
        May 21, 2013

        My point is that the defencemen that tend to make it further in the playoffs, also tend to be the same ones who make the Sedin’s look invisible in said playoffs.

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          May 22, 2013

          So to boil it down, the point is that “good defencemen are good”.

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  9. Chris
    May 21, 2013

    The game highlights…..that was some God awful commentary.

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