Albelin shares outlook on Sweden

Devils' assistant says disciplined teams make for balanced tourney

Friday, 02.19.2010 / 12:53 PM ET / Features
By Eric Marin
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Albelin shares outlook on Sweden
Former Devils defenseman Tommy Albelin is in his third season as a Devils assistant coach.
With Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise participating in the 2010 Olympic tournament, fans might have overlooked the two members of the Devils’ coaching staff behind the bench in Vancouver.

On the Canadian side, Jacques Lemaire is an associate under head coach Mike Babcock, while Tommy Albelin serves as an assistant for Sweden under Bengt-Ake Gustafsson.

Newjerseydevils.com spoke to Albelin, a Devils assistant coach, on Friday, with Sweden looking to go 2-0 in a meeting with Belarus.

What have you thought of the tournament so far?
Albelin: It’s a very good tournament with a lot of good players. We’re still in the preliminary rounds so a lot of teams haven’t hit their stride yet and aren’t playing as well as they can. I think these first three games are to pretty much get ready with the matchups you want and to see who fits with who. Games four and five are going to be the most critical ones.

All these teams that you don’t think are top contenders like the Swiss, Germany, Belarus, they play a pretty good team game. None of these games are easy to win. If you look at it on paper, some should almost be a 5-0 game, but they’re tough to win because they play so disciplined.

How about the matchup with Belarus?
Albelin: They’ve got some talented players, like the Russian-style talent. They have very good, individual players, but they play a pretty good defensive team game. They use a lot of counterattack and clog up the neutral zone. They’ll try to take the puck back at their blue line and counterattack.

How different is it having Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on your side?
Albelin: I just think of him as being a goaltender. We try to prepare him the same way we would try to prepare Marty (Brodeur in New Jersey) to play the best he can for us so he can give us a chance in this tournament. (Lundqvist will rest Friday and return to the net vs. Finland on Sunday.)

Three big rivalries will be rekindled for Sunday’s games…
Albelin: All the games on Sunday are going to be great games. You’ve got Canada-U.S., us against Finland and the Russians against the Czechs. It’s going to be three really solid games, and I think that’s the way they wanted it. Everybody’s been watching the tournament anyway, but those are three really good ones before the quarterfinals start to shape up.

How has the atmosphere been in Vancouver?
Albelin: It’s been great, actually. We’re within walking distance of the rink and there’s always a lot of people, but everyone’s so helpful and polite. Everybody says, ‘Hi.’ I don’t know if there was something in Vancouver that says everybody needs to be kind to all the athletes that are here, but it’s just been tremendous that way.

Run into any Devils?
Albelin: I saw Marty in the dining hall and talked to him for a little bit. I saw Zach, Jamie. Same thing, just bumped into them and talked to them to see how things were going.

Have you had time to see any of the other events?
Albelin: So far we haven’t been able to. Today we were thinking of it, but we’re going to watch Finland play (Germany), which is after us. We’ll have some lunch, then come back and watch that game. The other chance we have is (Saturday) afternoon, if there’s an event available for us close by that we can go watch, but we haven’t really looked into it yet.

What are the keys for Sweden's defense of its 2006 Olympic gold? 
Albelin: Goaltending is going to be key, not just for us but for all the teams. And also a defensive team game, and making the right plays around the blue line. All these players we have, they’re trying to make that extra little play at the blue line, their own blue line or in the neutral zone. That’s usually when pucks should be chipped in deep. A lot of these players are trying to make that extra play and if the other teams are sharp and play well defensively, they’re going to get some chances against this team.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81