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Albelin shares outlook on Sweden

Devils' assistant says disciplined teams make for balanced tourney

Friday, 02.19.2010 / 12:53 PM / 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. 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


M. Cammalleri 50 23 9 3 32
A. Henrique 55 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 52 10 15 -14 25
S. Gomez 38 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 62 4 19 -8 23
T. Zajac 54 9 10 -5 19
S. Bernier 47 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 43 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 44 2 16 2 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
C. Schneider 22 23 6 .926 2.23
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59