2012-02-29 10:00:00 | Teams
We're recovering from an exciting day yesterday when Djurgården beat Linköping after a penalty shootout and took the extra point in Johanneshov, 2-1. The game was crucial in the fight to avoid Kvalserien (relegation playoffs) and it wasn't really a surprise that the spectators in Johenneshov in Stockholm got to see two cautious teams that did not want to give away anything.
Robin Figren opened the score late in the second period, and Mathias Tjärnqvist killed a long goalless streak when he made it 1-1 in power play in the third. Djurgården's David Printz hit the post in overtime before Pontus Åberg and Mario Kempe converted their penalties while only Pär Arlbrandt did for Linköping.
Defending champions Färjestad secured their spot in the playoffs thanks to a 3-2-victory to Växjö Lakers at home. The team from Karlstad has been in great form lately and has gone from fighting for the playoffs to fight for a top 4-spot, meaning home advantage in a potential seventh game in the quarter final series.
AIK as well most likely secured their spot in the playoff thanks to a 4-2 win at Brynäs in Gävle. It's not mathematically safe just yet but everything points in that direction since the capitals are nine points ahead of Växjö Lakers below outside of the playoffs with three games remaining. In addition, AIK:s goal difference is way better.
Luleå climbed one step further toward winning Elitserien by beating Timrå 7 goals to 2 at home. One of the issues in Luleå this season has been the inefficiency in front of goal in some games, so it's safe to say that the team from Norrbotten got themselves a great confidence boost yesterday.
2012-02-27 10:00:00 | AIK
Foto: Sami Grahn / Pic-Agency.com
Ahead of the game against Timrå yesterday, Elitserien's leading scorer Richard Gynge had not scored for eleven games in a row. So he decided to score not once, not twice, not a hattrick, not four times - but five times. An achievement that no one has managed in Elitserien this season.
Check out the five goals here!
2012-02-23 15:51:00 | Players
Thursday night usually means Hockey. Tonight is no exception and we're preparing for five games starting at 19:00 swedish time. Each one of them means a lot for the standings, but especially Djurgården vs Växjö Lakers, a direct battle to avoid Kvalserien and to reach the playoffs.
Växjö Lakers's reporter Jonas Gustavsson spoke to Brad Moran ahead of the game and you can see the full interview here. In English, of course!
In further news, Luleå Hockey announced the other day that the Finnish forward Toni Kovisto, who joined the club from Frölunda earlier this season, has extended his deal for two more seasons.
Defending champions Färjestad have equally signed two year extensions with forward Patrik Lundh and defenceman Anton Grundel.
2012-02-20 14:50:00 | Färjestad BK
On Saturday, Christian Berglund became the first player in Elitserien to score his second hattrick of this season . When Färjestad shutout MODO in Örnsköldsvik, the forward scored all three goals and secured FBK:s second victory in a row.
The defending champions therefore finds themself seven points clear of Växjö Lakers on 9:th place with seven games remaining.
2012-02-17 14:00:00 | Frölunda HC
Fredrik Pettersson of Frölunda was the 7:th player to manage a hattrick in Elitserien this season. He did it yesterday when Frölunda beat Skellefteå.
2012-02-13 17:15:00 | MODO Hockey
Today, Hockeyligan.se introduced the first in a series of articles, "Fokus", which will be published monthly. We ask the experts to share their views and opinions about a particular part or aspect of the game that means extra much to them.
The first article can be found in Swedish here. It's an interview with MODO:s power forward Anton Hedman, the player with most hits in Elitserien. He explains why physical play is such an important part of the game for him and what he thinks should be done to prevent blind side hits and concussions in Elitserien, which has been a problem during this season.
You'll find two translated parts from the interview below:
Have you always been a physical player?
"Yes, at least I've always tried to. I want people to know when I'm on the ice. It's not nice to be hit, in fact it's very annoying , so therefore I try to be best in the league on that department and make it my trademark. I know I'm a power forward that can produce points as well but I think hits is the thing I can stand out with."
With 118 registered hits you're in top of the player's hits standings. Do you keep track of the stats?
"Yes I do. It’s not that I go around chasing a hit just because I want to stay in top of the standings, but sure, I've checked that stats out for three or four times this season. It’s nice to be in top."
2012-02-07 19:00:00 | Teams
Oddset Hockey Games is approaching and Elitserien is on a short break here in Sweden. Ten or nine games remain before we can summarize and see which teams will keep fighting in either SM-slutspelet (the playoffs, team 1-8 in the standings) or Kvalserien (team 11 and 12 from Elitserien and four teams from HockeyAllsvenskan competing for two spots in next years edition of Elitserien).
The same people who said it was a tight and close race of 55 game days last season say it's even closer now. Only 13 points separate HV71 in 5th place from Linköping in 11th, so it's safe to say that every team in between are facing a spectacular finish until the very last game day, March 6.
Starting from the top of the standings, you'll find three teams that have performed on a consistent level during a longer period of time. We're talking about Luleå, Skellefteå and Brynäs that have altered on the three top positions for most of the season.
While Luleå has mainly been praised as a very hard working group that is extremely hard to break through, Brynäs and Skellefteå are better known for their speedy ice hockey scoring a lot of goals. Brynäs is statistically the best team in power play as well as the team that has scored most goals in Elitserien so far.
Frölunda is tailing the top three teams in the standings, mainly thanks to a great start and a great performance in 2012. The team from Göteborg (Gothenburg) experienced some problems with injuries on key players (Joel Lundqvist, Magnus Kahnberg and goalkeeper Frederik Andersen) and suffered a lot for that in the rink. Now, those players are back and the results have logically improved dramatically.
Joel Lundqvist with a specially designed protection against his injured jaw. Photo: Per Friske - Pic-Agency Sweden
HV71 scored a lot of goals in a period of time during the autumn, but something has changed in the club from Jönköping. While the number of goals is significantly lower, same actually goes for goals against. A big reason is goalkeeper Daniel Larsson, who has stepped up his game during the last weeks.
Färjestad, AIK and MODO are placed 6th, 7th and 8th which means they are currently holding the three last spots in the playoffs. While the supporters of defending champions Färjestad certainly expected their team to quite comfortably qualify for the playoffs this season, AIK- and MODO-fans were perhaps more prepared to fight in the "other end" of the table, just like last season.
Just before the current break, AIK defeated MODO 5 goals to 1 in a game that could prove crucial when we summarize in March.
Växjö Lakers and Djurgården are currently in 9th and 10th place, meaning their season would end, but while only one point separate the newcomer Växjö from a place in the playoffs, two points seperate Djurgården, finalist in 2009/2010, from a place among the eight best.
Växjö Lakers has recently signed Czech Republic's Karel Pilar and Tomas Netik from KHL-team Lev Poprad in order to achieve the best possible finish.
Växjö Lakers' new signing Karel Pilar. Photo: Sami Grahn/Pic-Agency.com
Djurgården's gap to Linköping on 11th place is currently 3 points while Timrå on 12th place are 21 points behind Djurgården on 10th place. With only 30 points remaning to compete for, Timrå's fans probably already have their minds set on how they're going to survive Kvalserien.
Starting on Tuesday next week, we have a spectacular finish of this race that is Elitserien and we can promise you it's probably going to be the closest of all times. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!