In a late announcement Sunday, Team Sweden will not dress Henrik Lundqvist for their Sunday contest against Team Russia. It’s the first game of the tournament for both squads.
According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Lundqvist is sick and unable to suit up. In his place, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom will get the start.
Just hours before the game, head coach Rikard Gronborg told the media that Jhonas Enroth would be a scratch. Now, Enroth is on the ice and serving as Markstrom’s backup. That indicates this was either a very late decision by Lundqvist and the team or they knew and were playing some serious cat and mouse games with Team Russia.
Team Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said two hours ago that Jhonas Enroth would be scratched. #WCH2016
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) September 18, 2016
The 34-year-old Lundqvist played in two preseason exhibition during World Cup camp. In the second of those, a loss to Team Europe, Lundqvist allowed five goals on 22 shots.
Markstrom made his first serious impact in the NHL last season, grabbing 32 games with the Vancouver Canucks with a .915 save percentage. He’ll be tested Sunday. While Russia’s defense is suspect, they have a lot of firepower up front. Though Sweden is one of the tournament’s favorites, it’s a short tournament and losing even one game came change the complexion of group stage games going forward.
Hampus Lindholm and Patrik Berglund are Team Sweden’s other two scratches for Sunday’s game.
Team Sweden says they will not update Lundqvist’s situation until after Sunday’s game. Coach Gronborg will be offering that update in his post-game news conference.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.