Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What's Swedish for "are you nuts"

The Swedish media have launched a crusade that if successful, should pretty well guarantee that Sweden won't be much of a threat at the Olympics in Italy next year.

The media contributors have decided that Sweden might be better off without the likes of Marcus Naslund wearing the Tre kroner jersey into International competition. The controversy apparently got its start in the lock out season, when Naslund was back home in Sweden. He was asked if he would play in Sweden again, to which he answered that it was doubtful that he would ever play in the Swedish pro leagues once his time in the NHL had come to an end.

With that statement a brush fire was launched that has the potential to burn bridges and torch the aspirations of a country that once was in the forefront of International hockey. While it seems like a sensible thing to North Americans, as Naslund figures he has a few more good years left in him and then retirement will beckon, some of his fellow Swedes are talking treason.

The reporters want to have him banned from any further International competition wearing a Swedish sweater, which seems a tad ridiculous for an observer from the other side of the pond. Leaving someone of the calibre of Naslund off of your Olympic roster makes not much in the way of sense, a sure fire ticket to perhaps plying your future International hockey in the relegation pools.

The key to Naslund's statement is that he said he probably would never play in Sweden not for Sweden. The idea of dropping him from the Swedish Olympic roster should be dropped as quickly as it was mentioned. Though one doubts if Swedish Head coach Bengt Gufstafsson gave it much consideration anyways. If only for self preservation reasons alone, a smart coach would never turn down one of the most prolific scorers to ever call Ornskoldsvik a home. Just ask Gustafsson's predecessor Hardy Nilsson, if he had a few snipers in his line up he might not have met his fate. Although his departuree was a symbol of how much influence the Swedish media has on the Swedish hockey powerbrokers.

The Swedish media is notorious for its hard lines and outrageous commentary, with the crazy idea to drop Naslund from the Olympic team, they also show that they don't really know much about hockey either.

No comments: