By Ashley Dunkak
JOE LOUIS ARENA (CBS DETROIT) – With Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen still battling the effects of a concussion, a spot is open on Team Sweden, and another Red Wing is on the list as a possible replacement.
Gustav Nyquist came away from Sunday’s loss with his first career hat trick, and he has now scored eight goals in the last seven games. With the announcement of Franzen’s replacement for the Olympics in Sochi coming soon, Nyquist’s timing could not be better. The Games begin Friday, and Nyquist expects to know whether he is going by Monday afternoon or evening.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Nyquist said Monday morning. “They’re going to make the decision, and I can only do my best over here to play as good as possible. I don’t know what they’re thinking for a replacement, what type of player they need or something like that, so we’ll see what happens. We’ll all know by the end of the day.”
If Nyquist is chosen, he will be one of six Swedes from the Detroit locker room going to Sochi. Already pegged for these Olympics were Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson and Franzen. Nyquist is anticipating the decision and said he is keeping his fingers crossed.
“That’d be a lot of fun to go with all the Swedes in this room, to go to Sochi,” Nyquist said. “To represent your country in the Olympics, it would be something special. I would be really excited for it.”
Though that delegation certainly means Nyquist will see plenty of familiar faces on Team Sweden, he does not think it increases his chances of being chosen.
“I don’t think they’re going to have anything to do with the decision,” Nyquist said. “It’s all up to the coaches. They’re great guys, and it’d be fun for sure to join them on that trip.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock acknowledged that Nyquist has played well lately, and Nyquist seems to be developing solid chemistry with teammates Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
“When he skates, he’s a real good player for us,” Babcock said. “He’s working hard on his shot to become dangerous with his shot. When he touches the puck, he’s looking to pass it to someone, and when you play with Zetterberg, you get passes. Abdelkader does a real good job being heavy for those guys. They’re making a lot of plays right now. They’ve been excellent both defensively and offensively.
“It’s good for him,” Babcock said. “You’ve got to earn your confidence in this league. They don’t give it to you. And he’s obviously earning some.”