Major blow for Sweden with Henrik Sedin out

Thu Feb 6, 2014 8:24pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - The Swedish men's ice hockey team were dealt a major blow to their medal chances at the Sochi Games when Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin withdrew from the Winter Olympics on Thursday due to a rib injury.

Center Sedin, who with his twin Daniel has been an instrumental figure for Sweden in recent years, had been trying to play through the injury since last month but was shut down by the Canucks for the next two National Hockey League games on Thursday.

"This is a difficult decision but ultimately the best decision for me personally, Team Sweden and the Vancouver Canucks," Sedin said in a statement. "I wish my team mates the best and look forward to returning to play."

Henrik and Daniel had played for Sweden in the past two Olympics, including the country's gold-medal triumph in the 2006 Games in Turin. Henrik is usually the playmaker and Daniel the goal scorer.

The 33-year-old brothers both starred for a Swedish national team that triumphed at the 2013 world championships, and were viewed as key to help Sweden rebound from a disappointing fifth-place finish in Vancouver four years ago.

Daniel had a goal and five assists in four games at last year's world championships while Henrik had four goals and five assists in the four games he played, including a three-point effort in the gold medal game.

Sweden also will have one of the top goaltenders in Sochi with Henrik Lundqvist, who backstopped the Swedes to the gold in Turin.

SECOND WITHDRAWAL

Henrik, a three-time NHL All-Star and former league most valuable player, became the second major National Hockey League player to be sidelined from the Games in as many days.   Continued...

 
Feb 4, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin (33) battles with Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) behind the net with goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during the first period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports