Center Sedin, who with his twin Daniel has been an instrumental
figure for Sweden in recent years, had been trying to play through
the injury since last month but was shut down by the Canucks for the
next two National Hockey League games on Thursday.
"This is a difficult decision but ultimately the best decision for
me personally, Team Sweden and the Vancouver Canucks," Sedin said in
a statement. "I wish my teammates the best and look forward to
returning to play."
Henrik and Daniel had played for Sweden in the past two Olympics,
including the country's gold-medal triumph in the 2006 Games in
Turin. Henrik is usually the playmaker and Daniel the goal scorer.
The 33-year-old brothers both starred for a Swedish national team
that triumphed at the 2013 world championships, and were viewed as
key to help Sweden rebound from a disappointing fifth-place finish
in Vancouver four years ago.
Daniel had a goal and five assists in four games at last year's
world championships while Henrik had four goals and five assists in
the four games he played, including a three-point effort in the gold
Sweden also will have one of the top goaltenders in Sochi with
Henrik Lundqvist, who backstopped the Swedes to the gold in Turin.
Henrik, a three-time NHL All-Star and former league most valuable
player, became the second major National Hockey League player to be
sidelined from the Games in as many days.
Prolific Canadian scorer Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning
was forced to withdraw on Wednesday when a broken leg did not heal
in time, a major setback for the defending Olympic champions.
[to top of second column]
Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis was selected to replace him.
Sedin had been so eager to compete in Sochi that he played for the
Canucks in their last two games, despite still suffering pain from
the injury sustained on January 16 when cross-checked in the ribs by
Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes.
He played again on January 18, against the Calgary Flames, but left
early and his extraordinary run of 679 consecutive games ended three
days later when he did not take to the ice against the Edmonton
Sedin missed six games before rejoining the Canucks on a road trip
and played in back-to-back losses to the Detroit Red Wings and
Boston Bruins on Monday and Tuesday, but was unable to take faceoffs
and was in visible discomfort on the bench.
Canucks coach John Tortorella had expressed hope Sedin would pull
out of the Sochi Games but said the decision would have to be made
by the player.
"Do I want him to go? Absolutely not," Tortorella told reporters.
"I'm thinking about our hockey club. But I am not having a
conversation with him about that; that is his call.
"That's your country. He's going to have to work that out with his
family and let us know what he wants to do."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles;
editing by Gene
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