From Rocky Bannanno of NHL.com
Mats Sundin, the captain of Team Sweden when they won the gold medal in 2006, announced in June that he will not play in 2010. And there was no ambiguity in his words:
“There will be no Olympics in Vancouver for me next year. I will not change my mind. I think it’s time that the next generation takes over. We have many good players.”
That would make Lidstrom the prime candidate to take over the captaincy. But of course, that IS if Lidstrom even decides to play in Vancouver. Here’s what Lidstrom had to say to a Swedish news source:
“I want to get started with the NHL season first before I make the final decision if I should play in the Olympics or not. I want to be (in Molndal) and hear what the Hockey Federation and Olympic Committee for the games in Vancouver have to say. I don’t deny that participating in a fourth Olympic Games entices me.”
“Entice” seems to be Lidstrom’s word of the month, after denying any claims that he feels “enticed” by the thought of playing anywhere but the NHL.
I would think that last year’s post season might have something to do with Lidstrom’s hesitation. The Perfect Human has been getting banged up more and more over the last few seasons and I would think that health would be a concern. Of course, resting an injury last season got him suspended by Mr. Bettman. The question is: does he put more emphasis on winning another gold medal, or another Stanley Cup? For contract or for country?
Tough call. I don’t think anyone would question is loyalty to Detroit by going out to win another gold medal for his home country, but we wouldn’t be very happy if he went out to Vancouver and got himself hurt and had to miss significant time with Wings.