Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gronborg Says Offense Will Come for Sweden

Sweden's forwards have only technically scored one goal in two games at the World Cup of Hockey (the second was an empty-netter by Loui Eriksson, and the other two came from defensemen), but head coach Rikard Gronborg is not worried about Sweden's offense ahead of it's matchup with Team North America on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto. He says patience is a virtue and its just a matter of time before its forwards, led by a first line of the Sedin twins and Eriksson, start to make a difference in the tournament.

Here's Gronborg's take:

I think our forwards are doing a great job of sticking to the game plan. Sooner or later I think we created some great scoring opportunities in both games here. So it's just a matter of time for some of the forwards to produce. Same thing in the power play. Obviously we need to step it up a little bit there for sure. But they're working hard and sticking to the plan, and we keep telling our team to be patient and things are just going to happen, and I think we're playing as a patient team, and that obviously turned out well the first two games.

More important than the offense is the status of Sweden's goalie Henrik Lundqvist. After allowing five goals on 22 shots in an exhibition against Team Europe on September 14th, illness forced Lundqvist to miss Sweden's first game against Russia.

Lundqvist was back in top form on Tuesday, and he said his teams discpline and structure made it a lot easier for him to ease into the competition.

"I felt like in the first period I was a little bit all over the place, but it helped having really good structure in front of me. With the way our D are playing and the forwards coming back, it helps you to build your game," he said. "If I compare this game to my last game I played, it was more open game, more open chances. That's a lot tougher game to play. Today I felt like we were in a lot of structure and really good position to help me."

Lundqvist says he feels good physically and wants to get the start on Wednesday against the darling of the tournament, Team North America.

"I haven't talked to the coach yet," he said. "But I want to go, and it's an important game, we're not in yet, but he makes the call."