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Karlsson sees no benefit playing on bigger ice

Wednesday, 12.02.2014 / 9:54 AM / News
By NHL.com Feature
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Karlsson sees no benefit playing on bigger ice
One of the players many considered would best be able to exploit the extra space available on the international ice surface was Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson.

SOCHI -- One of the players many considered would best be able to exploit the extra space available on the international ice surface was Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The Ottawa Senators offensive wizard has the smooth skating stride and ice vision that seems tailor made for the extra 15 feet of width on the ice rinks in use for the tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But there is one person who doesn't agree with the perception that he will benefit from playing on the big ice: Erik Karlsson.

"I wouldn't say it's easier for me to play over here," Karlsson said after Sweden's practice Tuesday. "It's just as long, it's just that it's wider and it's a different type of game. You have to change a little bit and it's going to be interesting to see how it goes. But it's the same for everyone."

Karlsson's free-wheeling style in the NHL does not typically involve much east-west movement. His speed makes it unnecessary because Karlsson can often blow by a forechecking forward skating straight ahead.

In Sochi, Karlsson's skill will be paired with that of Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Phoenix Coyotes, another strong skater who can change a game with his rushes up the ice.

"We're both pretty skilled players and great skaters," Karlsson said. "I think it's going to be no real issue playing both ends of the ice. He's one of those types of players I enjoy playing with and I think he feels the same. We're moving the puck well and I see no real issues with anything whether it's the defensive zone or the offensive zone."

This is Karlsson's first Olympic experience, but he has vivid memories of Sweden's last gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics, when Nicklas Lidstrom scored 10 seconds into the third period to give Sweden a 3-2 win against archrival Finland.

Lidstrom's absence from these games is being felt on the Swedish team, and even though Karlsson never played with him internationally he says he can feel the void that's left behind.

It's one Karlsson hopes he is able to fill.

"I've been around for a while, I played in a couple of World Championships," Karlsson said. "I want to be a big factor on this team, and log a lot of minutes here and [have] a big impact. It's an opportunity I need to make happen."

Author: Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
3 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
4 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
5 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
6 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
7 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
8 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Ryan 43 12 21 7 33
E. Karlsson 46 11 22 -5 33
K. Turris 46 9 20 -8 29
M. Stone 44 11 15 9 26
M. Hoffman 43 16 9 19 25
C. MacArthur 45 13 11 -7 24
M. Zibanejad 44 11 12 1 23
D. Legwand 45 7 12 -4 19
A. Chiasson 43 7 10 -8 17
M. Michalek 42 6 9 -7 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 6 7 2 .900 3.16