The list of injured NHL players sitting out of the Sochi Olympics continues to grow, and the newest casualties both have a lot of international experience.
A day after Steven Stamkos announced he couldn’t play for Canada in Sochi because of his broken tibia, Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin announced on Thursday that he won’t be playing for Team Sweden in Sochi.
Sedin suffered a rib injury on Jan. 16 against the Phoenix Coyotes, and he’s only played two games since, with the Canucks shutting him down for their final games before the Olympic break.
The announcement should come as welcome relief for Canucks head coach John Tortorella, who said earlier today that, while the final decision was always Sedin’s to make, he wouldn’t recommend his captain head to Russia so he could get some rest be more effective for the Canucks down the stretch.
Sochi would have been Sedin’s third Olympics, having played in 2010 in Vancouver, as well as on the golden Swedish squad in Turin, Italy in 2006, the last time the tournament was played on the bigger ice surface. In 12 career Olympic games, Sedin has three goals and three assists.
Sedin’s replacement is set to be announced tomorrow, though Calgary Flames youngster Mikael Backlund is rumoured to be heading to Sochi. For what it’s worth, Backlund hasn’t heard from Swedish head coach Par Marts one way or the other.
I haven't heard anything about Olympics. I haven't got the call to from Pär Mårts. No replacement is official yet!
— Mikael Backlund (@mbacklund11) February 6, 2014
In addition, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik hasn’t sufficiently recovered from a broken collarbone, and he will not play for Slovakia in Sochi. The often-injured Gaborik suffered the injury on Dec. 21, his first game back after missing 17 games with a sprained knee.
While the Blue Jackets are disappointed he won’t be going to Sochi, they are looking forward to having a healthy Gaborik back in their lineup after the Olympic break, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a press release on the Blue Jackets website.
Like Sedin, Sochi would have been Gaborik’s third Olympic tournament representing Slovakia after Vancouver and Turin. Gaborik has five goals and five assists in 12 career Olympic games.
Taking Gaborik’s place on the Slovakia roster is Branko Radivojevic, a former six-year NHL veteran who currently plays for HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL.