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World Cup of Hockey: Team Sweden Preview

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Led by Captain Henrik, Brother Daniel and third twin Loui, can Team Sweden top the rest?

Team Sweden OfThePostComic

When Henrik Zetterberg pulled out of the tournament through injury, I honestly expected them to overlook Henrik Sedin for the captaincy. However, cooler heads prevailed, and this Team Sweden should really be Nucks Misconduct's team. Read on to see why.

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Who exactly are Team Sweden?

This is a team with a perfect blend of youth and experience. Led by the Sedins and backstopped by Henrik Lundqvist, this side also boasts young talent such as Gabriel Landeskog, Hampus Lindholm and Filip Forsberg. This is a dangerous team, and I believe they should be one of the favorites for the tournament.

Their management is typically Swedish; a GM from the Swedish leagues, a home-grown coach who was an assistant at the 2014 Olympics, and two more home-grown assistant coaches. No flashy NHL representation in this management team. Could that lack of media focus help Team Sweden and allow them to focus on their game?

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Which Canucks should I look out for?

There are four Canucks on Team Sweden - our most-represented nation in the tournament. Henrik Sedin is Captain and will centre the second/third line; Daniel Sedin will play alongside him, as always; and they will be joined by the newest big-name Canucks signing, Loui Eriksson. Their chemistry in the pre-tournament games has been exciting to see, and I fully expect them to continue to impress here.

We also have Jacob Markstrom in the goaltending ranks; it is highly unlikely he sees any action, but I do believe he'll backup Lundqvist, rather than Jhonas Enroth.

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Projected lines:

Landeskog - Backstrom - Forsberg
Daniel - Henrik - Eriksson
Hagelin - Backlund - Hornqvist
Berglund - Soderberg - Silfverberg
Kruger

Ekman-Larsson - Karlsson
Lindholm - Hedman
Ekholm - Hjalmarsson
Stralman

Lundqvist - Markstrom - Enroth

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What can we look forward to with this team?

- For one thing, that is hands-down the best D in the entire competition. Three perennial Norris candidates - OEL, Karlsson and Hedman - plus two potential future ones in Lindholm and Ekholm. To have Anton Stralman as a scratch - and to not even require Alexander Edler's services - shows the depth Team Sweden has here.

- They're also pretty good-looking up front, with a seriously talented top line led by Alexander Ovechkin's full-time carer, Nicklas Backstrom. They have eight wingers who can score goals galore, four solid two-way centers - there are no weaknesses in this forward group.

- Lundqvist may be 34 now, but he's still an elite goalie. He'll play every game as normal, and he'll need to be sharp, but I can see 'King Henrik' being a star this time round.

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How will they do?

Sweden are always a difficult team to work out. When you expect them to do well they fail, when you forget they exist, they do very well. As no-one has mentioned them so far, I can see them doing very well this time, and sneaking into a semi final showdown against Team Canada.

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Prediction:

A close-fought semi-final loss against Team Canada.