2012-12-22 12:00:00 | Okategoriserat
Now that AIK have completed their series of ‘catch-up’ matches against Rögle and Frölunda, the mid season break is coming to an end. With that in mind, I would like to preview some of the things to look out for before this season enters it’s 2013 edition.
Linköping vs Färjestad. Photo: Peter Holgersson, Pic-Agency Sweden
- One of the key games of round 33 is the Linköping-Färjestad clash in the
middle of the table. Both teams are coming off of losses in round 32 and will be looking to once again establish themselves in good positions for the run up to the playiffs. With an outright win, Linköping can jump Färjestad in the table, whereas a Färjestad win will claw them a little closer to Luleå in third place.
- The other matchups in round 33 do not offer as much intrigue in terms of league position, but one game I will be keeping an eye on will be HV71 against Brynäs, Brynäs have won three straight games coming into the tie and find themselves in the middle of the pack, whilst HV71 are thoroughly entrenched in a race for the top spot against both Skellefteå and Luleå.
From now on, every game will give more clarity to the playoff picture, and HV71 will not want to start their post Christmas campaign by losing ground on league leaders Skellefteå.
Bud Holloway. Photo: Bert Söderström, Pic-Agency.com
- Another thing to keep your eye on post Christmas is the play of points leader Bud Holloway. So far this season he’s had outstanding production and is contributing plenty of goals as well as assists. Will the break have knocked him out of his groove, or will he pick up right where he left off?
- If you didn’t know, Christian Berglund of Färjestad has recorded at least one point in his last 10 games, this production has seen him rise to 10th in the players points table. Will he keep the streak alive against Linköping?
Carl Söderberg. Photo: Peter Holgersson, Pic-Agency Sweden
- Talking of stats, can anyone catch Carl Söderberg in the goals table? He has lit the lamp 22 times so far this season with his closest rivals Joakim Lindström of Skellefteå and Färjestad’s Per Åslund both 7 scores behind on 15. Håkan Loob is currently the record holder for most goals in one Elitserien season with 42. Söderberg has another 22 games so overcome that mark. Can he do it?
- One of the big questions I have for these last few rounds of 2012 is whether Rögle can pick up another win or not? They are now on an eight game losing streak and despite coming close to winning in their last few games they just don’t seem to have the mentality to pull it off. Despite some decent offensive production, without consistently good netminding, the may never break this streak.
2012-12-10 16:17:00 | Okategoriserat
Skellefteå´s Sevc and Bellemare. Photo: Bert Söderström/Pic-Agency
There was a lot of movement at the top of the table as Luleå took over top spot after their game against Frölunda, before relinquishing the lead to Skellefteå as they fell to third place behind HV71. The top three now look like this:
1st: Skellefteå – 60 points.
2nd: HV71 – 60 points.
3rd: Luleå – 59 points.
Meanwhile, the bottom five teams haven’t changed position whatsoever and their current spots are shown below. Remember that the 8th spot in the league means you’re in the playoffs, whilst the bottom two spots go into the Kvalserien to face teams from the HockeyAllsvenskan for the chance to stay in Elitserien.
8th: Frölunda - 46 points.
9th: Växjö - 42 points.
10th: Timrå – 34 points.
11th: AIK – 32 points.
12th: Rögle – 24 points.
Gävlebocken Arena before Jubileumsmatchen. Photo: Jan Bulér/Pic-Agency
Brynäs took home the spoils in all three of their games this week, knocking off Skellefteå, Rögle and Timrå in succession, which helped them climb one spot to fifth in the table. The game against Timrå took place outside in the chilly Swedish night air at Gävlebocken Arena. A total of 15,009 fans watched the Swedish equivalent of the Winter Classic known as Jubileumsmatchen as Brynäs won 3-0.
Brynäs will certainly be hoping that they carry on this form after the break as they take on HV71, Färjestad and Luleå in their first three games back on the ice.
Once again, Rögle had a terrible week of play and didn’t manage to pick up a single win. Despite managing to keep it close and force overtime and penalties against Brynäs and HV71 respectively, the men from Ängelholm couldn’t find that winning instinct to seal either game. That’s now seven games lost on the bounce for Rögle with their last win coming in the VIDA Arena against Växjö.
Thursday night was a great night for hockey as all five games had something to keep everyone happy. First of all, shutouts from Fredrik Norrena and Marcus Svensson handed both Växjö and Skellefteå 3-0 wins, whilst the other three games gave us two 5-4 OT wins for MODO and Brynäs as well as a penalty shootout win for AIK. Never a boring night in Elitserien!
Anders Eldebrink. Photo: AIK
In a bid to stop the bleeding and fight their way out of the bottom two, AIK axed its head coach Per-Erik Johnsson and replaced him with Anders Eldebrink. Eldebrink comes over from Swiss team EHC Kloten and has a contract that keeps him at the club until the end of the season as well as having an option for a further two.
2012-12-06 23:00:00 | Okategoriserat
With the prolonged labour stoppage of the NHL causing many of their top players to find teams top play for in Europe, here is an update of how three of these players are performing in the Elitserien so far this season.
Cody Franson. Photo: Pär Olert, Pic-Agency Sweden
Cody Franson – Brynäs
NHL team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Position: Left Defenseman
2011-2012 NHL Season Stats: GP 57, G 5, A 16, P 21, +/- -1
2012- 2013 Elitserien Stats: GP 19, G 3, A 2, P 5, +/- -5
With the Maple Leafs not managing to sign Franson to a new contract over the NHL offseason, the British Columbian native took the opportunity to prove his worth by signing for Brynäs with a reported season long contract. Being on the defensive side of the ice, his worth to Brynäs is hard to measure from the stat sheet, but by averaging over twenty minutes of ice time per game it is clear that is on ice play is valued.
Matt Duchene. Photo: Per Friske, Pic-Agency Sweden
Matt Duchene – Frölunda
NHL team: Colorado Avalanche
Position: Left Wing
2011-2012 NHL Season Stats: GP 58, G, 14, A 14, P28, +/- -11
2012- 2013 Elitserien Stats: GP 17, G 3, A 10, P 13, +/- +10
At 21 years old, Duchene is the youngest, as well as the highest drafted (3rd overall), of the three NHL players to enter the league and his +10 plus-minus ration shows that he has been a very positive influence on Frölunda’s third line. He also managed to show of his individual talent with the breakaway goal he finished with style against Skellefteå that ended up as a contender on this week’s best goals.
Alexander Steen. Photo: Jonas Forsberg, Pic-Agency Sweden
Alexander Steen – MODO
NHL team: St Louis Blues
2011-2012 NHL Season Stats: GP 43, G 15, A 13, P 28, +/- 24
2012- 2013 Elitserien Stats: GP 18, G 7, A 11, P 18, +/- +5
The Swedish national was the first NHL player to sign in Elitserien this season and returns to the MODO team for which he played for during the last NHL lockout. He has been the biggest offensive force out of the North American imports with a total of 7 goals. His best game arguably came against HV71 in his second game back in Elitserien where Steen netted a goal along with two assists.
In my opinion Steen is the one player out of the three that is visibly a cut above the rest of the competition whilst on the ice, he clearly is using the experience he has gained during a eight year NHL career to give MODO an extra edge over the other teams in Elitserien.
When watching Duchene, it is clear that he is a budding talent with a bright NHL future, and whilst he has had good production during his time in
Elitserien, it does appear that his play can be stifled by hard working teams. That said, his best game came against the high flying Skellefteå, grabbing a goal as well as two assists, showing that he can step up on the big stage.
Franson is yet to find his groove in the league in my opinion and so far hasn’t asserted himself, but with another 23 rounds of Elitserien to play, he has plenty of time to make his mark.
2012-12-06 10:16:00 | Okategoriserat
During the last three rounds there hasn’t been one particular player who has stood head and shoulders above the rest, but once again a goaltender with three straight wins finds himself at the top of the list ahead of two players that have been grinding it out near the bottom of the table.
Robert Rosén. Photo: Henrik Johansson, Pic-Agency.com
3rd Star: Robert Rosén, Växjö Lakers, 3 G, 1 A, +/- -3
Even though Rosén has a -3 overall, having at least a point in every game over the last three as well as a two goal game against rivals HV71 is good enough to end up as the 3rd star of the week. Rosén has been very consistent in his points scoring as of late and his goals have helped Växjö stay competitive.
Broc Little. Photo: Andreas Sandström, Pic-Agency.com
2nd Star: Broc Little, AIK, 3 G, 2 A, +/- 2
Despite AIK having lost their three previous games, Broc Little has been working hard to change their fortunes and has netter a goal in each game. Hopefully his team picks up some of the slack around him and gets the club some wins.
Julius Hudacek. Photo: Per Friske, Pic-Agency Sweden
1st Star: Julius Hudacek, Frölunda, 3 Wins, 1 Shutout, 96.46 SVS%
Frölunda went up against two of Elitserien’s best all round teams in Skellefteå and Luleå as well as Brynäs and came out with wins in all three thanks to the play of Julius Hudacek. The Slovakien saved all but three shots out of 80 in his three game stretch and a shutout against Brynäs to boot.
2012-12-03 18:00:00 | Okategoriserat
- The league leaders HV71 fell into a bit of a slump this week as the got shutout in games against Luleå and Växjö, with their only win coming via a penalty shootout against AIK. Whilst one sub-par week isn’t going to mean the end of their season they will have to pick up their play and consistently beat the leagues bottom dwellers if they’re going to maintain their hold on the top spot.
- Luleå managed to record two shutouts in the week with Johan Gustafsson
being in net for both. However, for Saturday’s game against Timrå, Gutafsson was replaced by David Rautio and Luleå payed the price as they lost in the shootout. The teams recent strong play has seen them overtake Skellefteå for second in the table and maintain the second best goal difference in the league.
- Once again Rögle haven’t managed to pick up a win this week dropping
games against both Färjestad and Linköping, only scoring one goal in each
game whilst conceding a total of ten, highlighting the fact that the team has trouble at both ends of the ice. Monday night sees Rögle take on Timrå on home ice and the team will be eager to pick up a win after four consecutive losses.
Växjö Lakers vs HV71. Photo: Henrik Johansson, Pic-Agency.com
- Växjö’s win over HV71 in the Smålands derby is the sixth time that the team has been victors out of eight Elitserien meetings between the two sides. Looks like HV71 have found their bogey team so to speak.
- The table remains relativly unchanged from last week with only Luleå rising to second and dropping Skellefteå to third.
- Skellefteå remain the leagues best powerplay teamwith a 21.37% conversion
rate whilst Växjö are still the leagues worst at scoring with and extra skater at only 11.46%.