NEWS

Oduya named to Team Sweden

Becomes first Devil named to an Olympic squad

Monday, 12.28.2009 / 4:55 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Oduya named to Team Sweden
Oduya represented Sweden at the 2009 World Championships in Switzerland.
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Jersey’s Team has a solid contingent of Olympic hopefuls, but Johnny Oduya became the first Devil to have his ticket punched for Vancouver when he was named to Team Sweden on Sunday.

“It’s obviously a great honor,” Oduya said Monday. “There were a lot of good players; a lot of good (defensemen), so (it was) tough competition and obviously I’m happy.”

Oduya was one of eight blueliners chosen to represent Sweden, which will try to defend its 2006 title. The Tre Kronor will return 13 players from the team that defeated Finland in the gold medal match at Torino.

“It feels more like a bonus,” said Oduya. “I didn’t really know what to expect with getting picked or not. Like I said, I’m really happy. It’s going to be a tremendous experience, and it’s something that a lot of guys don’t have the chance of doing.”

The Olympic tournament gets underway on Feb. 16, and in the meantime, the 28-year-old Stockholm native wants to be at his best for the Devils. He scored in his Dec. 5 return from a lower body injury that cost him 15 games, but has not recorded a point in his last nine contests.

“Other than being really happy of being picked, it’s tough because it’s the middle of the year and you want to focus on what’s going on now and the team’s progress,” he said. “First off, I want to play well here and do good things here, and contribute to the team’s success. Come February, have fun and go there with high hopes. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s going to be a fun experience, I think.”

Oduya recalled Sweden’s victory over Canada for the 1994 gold medal in Lillehammer, Norway. Peter Forsberg’s famous shootout move on Corey Hirsch was so cherished in Sweden that it was commemorated on a postage stamp.

“It’s something that you remember and a lot of the Swedish people follow the tournament,” Oduya said. “It’s a big thing.”

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire will serve as an assistant for Canada, and has been pleased by how much Oduya has progressed from the beginning of the season. He was second among Devils defensemen last season with seven goals and 22 assists in 82 games.

“He’s starting to play much better than he did at the start,” Lemaire said. “I can see the talent that he has. If he keeps growing up to that point, it’ll be an important part. I feel it’s great for him.”

Some of Oduya’s teammates expect to have a say in Sweden’s bid to repeat. Martin Brodeur is a shoo-in for Team Canada between the pipes, and Zach Parise, Paul Martin and Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner are among the odds-on favorites for Team USA. Both Martin (‘06) and Langenbrunner (‘98) have represented the U.S. before, while Parise was a member of the U.S. World Junior squad that took gold in 2004.

Patrik Elias has suited up for the Czech Republic in the past two Olympic tournaments, and is likely to make his third trip in February. Canada and the Czech Republic unveil their rosters on Dec. 30. Team USA will follow with their announcement on New Year's Day.

For Brodeur, Oduya’s selection was noteworthy.

“Getting named to the national team is pretty impressive, especially when you look at the talent they have in Sweden,” Brodeur said. “For him to be in the top eight defensemen is something he should be proud of.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59