Road To The Olympic Games

Olympics Winter

Swedish hockey roster stacked for Torino

A number of top NHL forwards, including Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin, were named to the Swedish Olympic men's hockey team on Thursday

Sweden will bring its who's who of elite NHL forwards to the Torino Olympics in hopes of erasing the embarrassment of 2002.

A medal favourite four years ago in Salt Lake City, Sweden was upset 4-3 by lowly Belarus in the quarter-finals, a result deemed the toughest loss in Swedish hockey history.

Touching down in Turin, Italy, in February will be all-star NHL forwards Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin, who was named team captain during Thursday's roster announcement.

The other forwards named by coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson were Per-Johan Axelsson (Boston) Fredrik Modin (Tampa Bay) Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Vancouver) and Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit).

The Swedes, who won Olympic gold in 1994, are expected to challenge Canada and the Czech Republic for first place in Turin.

New York Rangers rookie Henrik Lundqvist was named one of three goaltenders, along with Mikael Tellqvist (Toronto) and Stefan Liv of Sweden's HV 71.

Among the surprise picks was forward Mika Hannula and Red Wings prospect Niklas Kronwall.

Hannula has been one of the best forwards in the Swedish Elite League this season for HV 71, while Kronwall has returned to the ice after undergoing knee surgery in October.

"He is back in training," Gustafsson said of Kronwall, a 24-year-old defenceman whom Detroit picked 29th overall in 2000. "The question is if he'll be ready for the Olympics.

"We have done this (selected Kronwall) to avoid eliminating another player from the squad if Kronwall can play. If he can't play we'll pick another player."

Sweden's blue-line is comprised of NHL rearguards Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit), Kim Johnsson (Philadelphia), Mattias Norstrom (Los Angeles) and Mattias Ohlund (Vancouver). Former New York Islander Kenny Jonsson, who now plays for Rogle in Sweden, rounds out the group.

with files from Associated Press