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CHICAGO — Victor Hedman has been a “monster,” as several of his teammates and head coach described him, not just in the Stanley Cup Final, but throughout these playoffs. With that, the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman has vaulted up the rankings for the Conn Smythe Trophy in the eyes of many in the hockey world.
So with Hedman’s performance on the big stage, the question of how he was left off Sweden’s 2014 Sochi Olympics roster has been brought up. If you asked national team head coach Par Marts, he'd tell you he has no second thoughts over the decision, saying he couldn’t give Hedman the ice time he needed.
“I regret nothing … Easy to maybe sit in hindsight and criticize it. But we took the decision then and we built a lot around [the defense] defense from Chicago and Detroit. Since we wanted to provide more offensive ice time to Erik Karlsson … [there wasn’t] much left to [give] Hedman. I rejoice over the success that Victor had. An incredible season. He has become better at just about everything.”
OK, so now about stapling Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the bench…
Hedman, to his credit, didn’t pout over the Marts omission and was able to quickly put the bad news behind him:
“You're obviously disappointed to not make a team that you fight for,” said Hedman. “At the same time we had a game that night in Winnipeg. It was kind of easy for me to switch focus to that, focus on Tampa.
“But, you know, I always try to improve as a player obviously every year, try to bring my game to another level. I don't think 'motivation' is the right word. But you're always disappointed not to represent your country on such a big stage.”
Over 16 months later, Hedman isn’t thinking about missing out on Sochi — let's not forget that Sweden did make the gold medal game and no one was beating that Canadian team — he’s got more important matters at hand.
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