Joonas Nättinen, JYP, Liiga
JYP finished the season in fourth place and is bypassing the first round of the playoffs. They will have home-ice advantage in their first playoff series against HPK, looking to improve upon their loss in the Bronze Medal Game last season.
Nättinen finished strong over the season and managed 31 points (8 G, 23 A) over 46 games; a 0.67 points-per-game average.
Arvid Henrikson, AIK U20, SuperElit
Henrikson has played 43 games for AIK U20, and has managed seven points over those games (2G, 5A). He also had just 32 penalty minutes, most of them accumulated at the start of the season when AIK was more or less outplayed in every game and the big defender threw his weight around.
Henrikson was called up for two games with AIK in Allsvenskan (Sweden’s second tier), with no stats to speak about.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL
Vejdemo kept his promise that Djurgården would make the playoffs, and they went head-to-head in a frantic three-game series versus Magnus Nygren’s Färjestad. The series was won by Färjestad with their home-ice advantage, but Vejdemo was the architect for the overtime-winner for Djurgården in an absolutely boiling Hovet.
We covered Vejdemo’s season in the previous report.
Magnus Nygren, Färjestad, SHL
The Färjestad captain has led his team at both ends of the ice. While he has always been an offensive dynamo, his defensive play has really taken a huge leap forward this season. Nygren still managed to finish second among defenders behind Henrik Tömmernes (who will be a hot commodity on the international free agent market after this season). Nygren’s 11 goals are the most by any SHL defenceman.
He started the playoffs well and has four points (2G, 2A) in the playoffs so far after the series against Djurgården.
The quarterfinals of the SHL playoffs have started and two powerhouses are facing each other already: Frölunda and Skellefteå. Frölunda holds home-ice advantage, which is something that many predict will be the deciding factor.
The first game started at a good pace from Frölunda, driven up by the fanatic home fan section, no doubt. Still it was Skellefteå that drew first blood, or at least that’s what everyone thought. After video review the goal was called back because of goaltender interference. After one period the score was tied at zero.
In the second period Skellefteå looked to have scored again, but the referee called it off immediately. The goal still went to review and the call on the ice was upheld.
Frölunda took the chance and struck gold with 1.10 left of the period, Simon Hjalmarsson (brother to Chicago’s Niklas) scored on a delayed penalty call to take command of the game. It was a mortal blow to a valiant Skellefteå team who conceded two in the final period, the last goal into an empty net.
We got a chance to speak with former Canadien and St. John’s IceCaps player Bud Holloway (who plays in Skellefteå) after the game.
“It was a tough game to lose. I didn’t really think it was a three-nil game to lose.” he said. “I’d be surprised if this series didn’t go to the full seven games. It was a tough battle tonight, obviously as it is playoff hockey. Two goals disallowed and getting on the short end of things ... we get another crack at it, it’s not a one-game elimination".
In regards to the concussion sustained while playing in CSKA of the KHL, Bud is quick to confirm that “there are no lingering effects. I wasn’t rushed by the team to get back on the ice. Now I am just ready to go. It was probably worse for my girlfriend as she watched the game and thought I was dead.” Giving us some insight to how it must be as a loved one to see something like that happen.
Hopefully we get a chance to get back to Holloway, but the smile is still there and he is happy to be back in a city that loves him and a team he has been part of before.