Bandy: Canada lost 7-1 to the US and finished 2nd in group B. In an article prior to the match, coach Göran Svensson mention the disparity, not just of group A to group B, but even within Group B. Mongolia, Holland and Hungary should be their own Group C it would seem. That said, perhaps the disparity between A & B isn't that huge. The US lost only by two goals 6-4 to Belarus. Looks like we get a USA-Canada rematch next year when the World Championship will be in Sweden.
In other Bandy news: surprise surprise, Russia wins gold, Sweden silver and Finland bronze - like every year.
Oilers drafts: William Quist has 6points in 7 games since January 1 with Tingsryd. He is usually listed as a third line forward (Tingsryd rarely has a fourth line) and thus is often more of a role player. A quote from a January 20 game summary states: "The (game) play is really dynamic when the junior line comes in. Quist is in a great play mood and their first two shifts resulted in Skövde (opposition) penalties". Later, in the final summation, it goes on to comment "it is still the single greatest value to observe how Quist's play lifts the whole team".
True that he is still playing two divisions below the Elite Series, but perhaps this is one of those good character traits that might have sold him as a draft prospect.
Linus Omark has been on a bit of a tear recently. Linus' Luleå has been scrapping for points to get out of the Elite Series basement (sound familiar Oiler fans?). The last couple games he has been playing upwards of 18minutes and regularly registering 4- 5 shots per game. He has now 25 points (9G+16A) in 44 games, good for 44th overall in league scoring.
Mikko Luoma: The Finnish defenceman drafted 181st in 2002 played only 3 games for the Oilers in 2003-04. Too bad this big man never stuck in the organisation. He is having a career year on Sweden's best team, HV71 of Jönköping - 32 points in 44 games. His leadership is also evident; playing on average more than 22 minutes per game (tied for 5th highest in the league). He will play for Finland in this week's LG Hockey Games.
Dragan Umicevic: Trogdor The Burninator has put in 24pts (9G+6A) in 28 games for Södertälje since returning to Sweden from the Russian Superleague. The 2003 draft pick never played for the Oilers and the club cut ties with the right winger in June of 2007.
Kalle Olsson: Playing in the level below the Elite Series with Västerås, he has equalled his 2006-07 point totals (31) in 6 fewer games. Västerås is close to the top of the Hockey Allsvenska and if they can finish among the top 3, will have a chance for promotion to the Elite Series. Olsson was released from the Oilers organisation in 2007.
Fredrik Pettersson: The 2005 draft pick and former Calgary Hitman was released from the Oilers organisation and returned to Gothenburg and his native team, the Frölunda Indians (no pun intended). Still young (20yrs), Fredrik is getting 4th line minutes in Frölunda, on average 7:41 per game, but is a solid +4 (5th best on his club). His scoring has often been important goals, à la Fernando Pisani type.
The Swedish Elite Series is on a 10 day break during which Sweden will host the LG Hockey Games - an tournament featuring Sweden, Russia, Finland and the Czechs.
There are 11 games left in the Elite Series season and the standings remain extremely tight. The top 8 teams make the playoffs, while the bottom two face a relegation series against teams from the Allsvenska (Ed Belfour's Leksand among those). With only 4 points separating 2nd-6th place and 4 points among 8th to 11th, the month of February should make for some interesting hockey.