Karlsson says Lightning's Hedman/Stralman 'big part' of Team Sweden
Half of Team Sweden's loaded blueline for the World Cup will be on display tonight during the Senators-Lightning game at Canadian Tire Center.
And Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is happy Tampa Bay's pair of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman joined him on the preliminary roster of 16.
Karlsson has known Hedman since they were kids, and was a teammate on Sweden's 2009 World Junior team. Karlsson said Hedman is not the "flashiest" player, but elevates his game in the big moments, like last year's playoffs.
"That's the type of player he is, he's more of an all-around 'D','" Karlsson said Thursday. "He doesn't do anything extraordinary there that sticks out either way, which is usually a good thing - I wish I had that a little bit more in me sometimes. He's the type of guy in tournaments like this, in national games and during playoffs, when you need someone to step up, that's where you see how really good he is."
Having been snubbed at the 2014 Olympics, this will be Hedman's biggest international tournament. The same for Stralman, Hedman's partner the past two seasons.
"He's a stability guy, he always does the same thing," Karlsson said. "He's someone you can really rely on. No matter the situation, he's going to do the same thing. You know what you're going to get out of him. When there's so much on the line those guys are really important to have and they'll be a big part of the team."
More from today: D Andrej Sustr was sent back to Tampa to get re-evaluated after he got hurt early in Monday's game, when Cooper said he "jammed something." "He was re-evaluated so this isn't going to be a long-term thing,' Cooper said. "We'll just try to give him a little bit more of rest." G Ben Bishop, a former Senators goalie, will start tonight, having gone 8-0-3 in 12 career starts against Ottawa. RW Erik Condra appears to be back in the lineup, which means RW Jonathan Marchessault will be a likely scratch.. Only seven Lightning players participated in today's optional morning skate at the Canadian Tire Center. Cooper liked how D Jason Garrison looked in Monday's return after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. "Especially those high ankles, you rush them back too soon and it can just do further damage," Cooper said. "We’ve had a few of those this year and you just have to take your time and let them heal."