Archive for Denmark national team

Huge Disappointment For Denmark At Home


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As was the case with the neighboring country to the south, the disappointing national team of DENMARK was unable to transform a top seed ranking and the accompanying home ice advantage into a valid ticket for the final tournament of the men’s ice hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Soschi, Russia.

Expectations for Olympic ice hockey qualification had soared to unprecedented heights in Denmark, particularly in light of the dramatic improvement demonstrated by the national team in the last decade or so. Indeed, the Danes have been ever present among the top sixteen nations in the top flight at the annual IIHF World Championships since its latest promotion coinciding with the 2003 edition staged in Finland. And the current Swedish coaching staff of trainer PER BACKSTROM and assistant TOMAS JONSSON, the retired defenseman who won two Stanley Cup titles with the New York Islanders as well as an Olympic gold medal with Tre Kronor in 1994, have been able to bring unprecedented results to the national team of Denmark since first combining forces a few years ago.

Denmark, it should be remembered, had enjoyed a tremendous run at the 2010 IIHF World Championships in Germany and posted victories over Finland, the United States and Slovakia (three of the four semi-finalists at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver just a few months earlier) on its way to attaining a first-ever berth in the IIHF WC quarterfinals.

The Danes, however, will be disheartened by the fact that Latvia, whom Backstrom & Jonsson’s charges have defeated twice at annual IIHF World Championships in the last two seasons, did manage to win its Olympic qualifying group at home in Riga and will be taking part in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in Russia.

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Denmark right wing JANNIK HANSEN (36) of the Vancouver Canucks, the former ninth round draft pick (2004, # 287 overall) who totaled 16 goals and 39 points after skating in all 82 games during the 2011/12 NHL regular season, plays the puck away from Norway center KRISTIAN FORSBERG (20) of Swedish Elitserien side Mo Do Ornskoldsvik during the 2012 IIHF World Championships – Group S contest at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
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Belarus had figured to be Denmark’s most formidable rival for the right to travel to Russia next year going into the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament in Vojens. But Slovenia stepped up a delivered a crushing blow to the host nation with a 2-1 victory on the second day of the competition. Clearly, the Danes could have done with some of its offensive talent skating in the National Hockey League at present :

DENMARK – major international experience
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(7) … 44 ga ….. 8 go … 17 pts … Frans NIELSEN, New York Islanders
(6) … 36 ga ….. 8 go … 20 pts … Peter REGIN, Ottawa Senators
(3) … 23 ga ….. 2 go ….. 4 pts … Philip LARSEN, Dallas Stars
(4) … 22 ga ….. 4 go ….. 8 pts … Jannik HANSEN, Vancouver Canucks
(3) … 20 ga ….. 5 go … 12 pts … Lars ELLER, Montreal Canadiens
(2) … 12 ga ….. 6 go ….. 8 pts … Mikkel BOEDKER, Phoenix Coyotes

(appearances at major international tournaments in parenthesis followed by total games, goals, points)

Considering the standout numbers posted for Finnish elite league club Lukko Rauma (29 ga, 21 go, 33 pts) during the Lock-Out as well as the increased offensive production for the Phoenix Coyotes (25 ga, 4 go, 16 pts) in the NHL this season, it is interesting to wonder what might have been if winger MIKKEL BOEDKER had suited up for Denmark at the Olympic tournament in Vojens … 23-year-old center LARS ELLER of the Montreal Canadiens is another young talent who has already displayed valuable goal-scoring ability for the national team of Denmark but was not able to participate in Vojens and, therefore, will not be making an appearance on ice hockey’s grandest international stage next year in Russia … Five of Denmark’s six players currently skating in the National Hockey League this season (with then-injured center PETER REGIN of the Ottawa Senators being the exception) appeared for the national team at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Scandinavia last spring.

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Denmark center LARS ELLER (81) of the Montreal Canadiens, the first round selection (# 13 overall) of the St. Louis Blues at the 2007 National Hockey League Draft, skates away from Italy’s Canadian-born defenseman NICHOLAS PLASTINO (44) of Swedish second division club BIK Karlskoga during the 2012 IIHF World Championships – Group S contest at the Globe Arena in Stockholm.

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Surprising Slovenia Off To Sochi Olympic Games


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XXII Winter Olympic Games
Group F – Qualification Tournament
Vojens, Denmark
February 7-10, 2013

Slovenia 4 – Belarus 2 …………… 408 spectators
Denmark 2 – Ukraine 0 ………… 4,121 spectators
Belarus 6 – Ukraine 0 …………….. 631 spectators
Slovenia 2 – Denmark 1 ……….. 5,000 spectators
Slovenia 6 – Ukraine 1 ……………. 545 spectators
Belarus 3 – Denmark 2 …………. 3,988 spectators

final standings
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SLOVENIA …………….. 9 points … 12-4 goals for/against
Belarus ………………… 6 points … 11-6 goals for/against
Denmark ………………. 3 points ….. 5-5 goals for/against
Ukraine ………………… 0 points ….. 1-14 goals for/against

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Slovenia left wing TOMAZ RAZINGAR (9) of German 2.Bundesliga club EV Ravensburg Towerstars, the 33-year-old veteran who skated two seasons for the Peoria Rivermen in the East Coast Hockey League (103 ga, 12 go, 34 pts) over a decade ago, beats Belarus netminder VITALI KOVAL of Russian Kontinental Hockey League club Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, the 32-year-old veteran who made two appearances for his country at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in western Canada, to the stick side during the opening contest of the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament at the Syd Energi Arena in Vojens, Denmark.
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With three-quarters of its goals scored by players competing professionally for clubs in the neighboring country to the south, the surprisig national team of SLOVENIA booked its place in Sochi next year by winning all three of its contests at the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament in Vojens, Denmark.

In retrospect, it was the very first game of the Group F tournament at Vojens that proved to be most decisive. Just two minutes into the last period opposite a more experienced Belarussian side, the Slovenians snapped at 2-2 tie just two minutes into the final frame and then added an insurance marker with roughly ten minutes to play for a well-deserved victory against a Belarus squad which featured eleven holdovers from the team which skated at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. In a defensive-oriented struggle which only witnessed a combined total of 39 shots on target generated by the two teams, goaltender ROBERT KRISTAN of Croatian club Medvescak Zagreb played a major role with 17 saves for Slovenia.

Belarus, it should be remembered, soundly defeated Slovenia 7-1 in the last meeting between the two at a major international tournament at the 2011 IIHF World Championshps only a couple of seasons ago. The Slovenians had arrived at the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament in Vojens seeded third, according to their # 18 ranking in the world as officially awarded for the calendar year 2012 by the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Belarusians, for its part, began Olympic qualifying play at the Syd Enegi Arena in Denmark rated number thirteen on the planet.

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Denmark netminder FREDERIK ANDERSEN of the American Hockey League’s reigning Calder Cup champion Norfolk Admirals and Slovenia’s two-goal hero DAVID RODMAN of German 2.Bundesliga club SC Bietigheim-Bissingen Steelers pose for the traditional photograph after being selected as “Best Players” of the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament contest at the sold-out Syd Energi Arena in Vojens, Denmark.
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Denmark, who entered the decisive competition ranked # 12 in the world by the IIHF, were hoping to parlay home ice advantage at Vojens into its first-ever appearance at the final tournament of the Winter Olympic Games but, in the end, were hampered by the inability to access a half dozen players currently skating with National Hockey League clubs.

The Danes were able to secure the services of talented young goaltender FREDERIK ANDERSEN, the third round (# 87 overall) pick of the Anaheim Ducks at the 2012 NHL Draft last summer, from the defending champion American Hockey League champion Norfolk Admirals. The 23-year-old previously with Swedish Elitserien side HC Vastra Frolunda Goteborg pitched a shutout in Denmark’s opening encounter with winless Ukraine but was beaten twice in his second start versus Slovenia. Both goals, it will be noted, were as a result of outstanding individual efforts by DAVID RODMAN of German second division club SC Bietigheim-Bissingen Steelers, the 29-year-old veteran right wing who spent two years with Val-d’Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League coming up and has appeared for Slovenia at four major international tournaments (23 ga, 2 go, 6 pts) for Slovenia in his career.

Cheered on by a capacity crowd on its home soil, a disappointed Denmark did fire 38 shots on the Slovenian goal at the electrified Syd Energi Arena but, much to the chagrin of its colorful supporters, were repeatedly turned away by the in-form Kristan.

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Slovenia center ROK TICAR (24) of Deutsche Eishockey Liga leaders Koelner Haie, the emerging 23-year-old who scored three goals in five games at the 2011 IIHF World Championships held in Slovakia, is confronted by a trio of Ukrainian defenders during the lopsided contest on the final day of the XXII Winter Olympic Games – Group F Qualification Tournament at the Syd Energi Arena in Vojens, Denmark.
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Slovenia gleefully completed its historic sweep at the Vojens Arena with an easy 6-1 triumph over hapless Ukraine and, thus, rendered the remaining Belarus versus Denmark match to follow meaningless. ROBERT SABOLIC, the 24-year-old right wing who transferred from Slovakian elite league outfit HK SKP Poprad to German D.E.L. club ERC Ingolstadt a week or so prior to the start of the Olympic qualification tournament in Denmark, tallied twice for Slovenia against the Ukranians while Rodman tacked on his group-leading fourth goal. The surging Slovenians also received strikes from center ROK TICAR of German table-toppers Koelner Haie as well as fellow pivot JAN URBAS, the 24-year-old from Swedish Elitserien side HC Vaxjo Lakers who also scored an important goal in the Belarus contest.

Rodman finished as the Group F scoring leader with six points while Sabolic, who totaled three goals altogether in Vojens, Ticar and Urbas all registered four points for Slovenia during the successful Olympic qualifying run in Denmark; ZIGA JELIC, the 24-year-old left wing from Swedish second division side SK Sodertalje also contributed four points to the Slovenian cause.

The triumph also represents a spectacular achievement for Slovenia trainer MATJAZ KOPITAR, who, undoubtedly, excitedly anticipates adding his son now skating in the NHL, star center ANZE KOPITAR of the reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, to the national team roster for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia next year.

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