Sedin twins key to Sweden's hopes

Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:00pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Ice hockey teams that gel the quickest often enjoy success at the Winter Olympics, so the chemistry between Swedish twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin could prove the difference for the Tre Kronor at the Sochi Games.

The Sedins' familiarity from having played together for all of their professional careers is evident most nights in National Hockey League action given the countless no-look passes to each other that appear like a display of twin telepathy.

But the 33-year-old brothers, who both starred for a Swedish national team that triumphed at the 2013 world championships, will need to be at their best if they are to help Sweden rebound from a fifth-place finish in Vancouver four years ago.

Perhaps a benefit for Sweden will be a return to the larger international-sized ice hockey rinks compared to the smaller surface used at the Vancouver Olympics.

Sweden has won the last two Olympic men's ice hockey titles on European ice, most recently at the 2006 Turin Games, but Henrik seemed content to play the underdog card.

"I think Russia and Canada are maybe the two top teams if you look at it on paper," said Henrik, who will be an assistant captain of the Swedish team at the February 7-23 Sochi Games.

"And Russia is playing at home as well. There are five, maybe six, teams who can win it. You have to be good at the right time. I don't think anyone is a huge favourite but I think Russia and Canada are the best on paper.

"We might not be as deep as we were in '06 when we won but when it comes down to one game, if you have a great goaltender back there who steals a game, I don't think it really matters who you have up front."   Continued...

Dec 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin (22) celebrates with center Henrik Sedin (33) after scoring a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta (31) during the third period at the United Center. Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports