Swedish Report

By Peter Westermark

Regular Season ends in Sweden

The playoffs started Sunday in Sweden and for the first time Swedish
teams are playing a best of seven series in the quarterfinals. What might
seem odd is that while the quarterfinals are best of seven, the semis and
the finals are only best of five. The idea of making the quarterfinals a
best of seven series instead of a best of five doesn’t have anything to do
with making sure that the best team wins; this format was implemented so
that clubs can get an extra home-date and make some extra money. Well, the
fans seem to enjoy the slightly altered format so best of seven is probably
here to stay.

As usual in Sweden, the season ended along with some controversy.
Frölunda coach Tommy Boustedt openly critisized the charismatic but
controversial chairman of the Swedish Hockey Association Rickard Fagerlund
saying that he scared away quality coaches from the National Team with his
way of doing business, i.e. talking to people through the media instead of
talking to them eye to eye. Boustedt certainly has a point here, and it
seems that most Elitserien coaches are supporting him in his critisism of
Fagerlund, although none had the balls to openly stand up beside him.

Elitserien Veterans to be drafted again this year

The now yearly drafting of Europeans veterans who teams think can step
right into the league will surely continue next year, and there are a couple
of veterans in the Swedish League pretty much certain to be drafted. The top
overager who will get picked this year is stay-at-home defenseman Niclas
Wallin of Brynäs, who has gotten good reviews from Dave King among others.
The 25-year old Wallin is listed at 6’2, 210, and posted the following stats
this regular season 48-7-9-16, +10, 73 PIM. Another defenseman who could get
claimed is late-bloomer Andreas Lilja of Malmö, who may be the most improved
player in the league this year. The 25-year old Lilja is huge – listed at
6’3, 225, and he scored 8 goals and added 11 assists along with a solid 88
penalty-minutes. 24-year old forward Kristoffer Ottoson made a big splash
scoring 25 goals and adding 15 assist in 47 games, but he is smallish and a
pure finesse player completely without a physical side to his game. His
smartness could earn the attention of some teams scouts though.

Travnicek should have been punished harder

In light of the Marty McSorley stick-swinging incident and the season-long
ban he received from the NHL it is apparent that a guy like Leafs draftee
Michal Travnicek should have gotten a much harder punishment than he got
from the IIHF and the Czech Hockey Association. Travnicek deliberately
high-sticked Islander draftpick Mattias Weinhandl in the face in a pre-WJC
tournament in Finland, forever damaging his eye so that he can only see
contours and shifts of light with it and thereby he shattered a career with
headed right towards the NHL. Weinhandl will never pass a medical to play in
the NHL with only 10% vision out of his eye, but Travnicek can pursue his
dream of playing in the league after serving his penalty which in reality
only was that he didn’t get the chance to win gold with the Czech National
Team in the WJC’s. Travnicek, like McSorley, is a repeat offender, and he
should be punished much harder. Weinhandl is back playing hockey for MoDo,
and he’s scoring goals again, but he has lost to chance to make millions in
the NHL and the reason is a stupid deliberate high-stick to the face from a
dirty player. Travnicek, like McSorley, should have received a season-long
ban. At least.