BUFFALO – Sweden has injury problems leading up to Monday’s semi-final game vs. Russia. Forward Gabriel Landeskog is gone for the tournament while top defenceman Adam Larsson is nursing a groin injury and considered doubtful.
It wasn’t a very good day for Team Sweden when they practiced at the Buffalo State College rink on Sunday. Head coach Roger Rönnberg had to inform media that Landeskog’s high-ankle injury will not heal before the World U20 Championship is over and that the Kitchener Rangers forward will not be playing in any of Sweden’s two remaining games.
While Rönnberg realized against Canada last Friday that his offence could do without Landeskog, who might well be the best forward in the Ontario Hockey League this season, he may find himself in a position where he will also have to readjust his defensive pairings.
The 18-year old Adam Larsson did not practice on Sunday as he was resting his pulled groin.
“We are hoping that he will play,” said Rönnberg to hockeysverige.se, “but this will be a game-time decision. He felt pain during the game against Canada and was used sparingly in the third period.”
For Landeskog, who was supposed to be Sweden’s best offensive weapon, this championship has been a nightmare. He played in the opening game against Norway but hasn’t played since then.
Swedish management was hoping that Landeskog’s high-ankle sprain would heal to the point where a good taping job could do the rest, but the attempts had to be given up on Sunday.
“We were trying to stay positive,” said Landeskog who informed the team that the he suffered that injury during an OHL game in December and it became worse after the exhibition game against Canada on December 21 and in the opener against Norway. “I never thought that this would be that bad. I was hoping it was just a sprain, but it is more severe than that.”
Although not being able to play, Landeskog will stay with the team for the duration of the championship. He will probably need four to six weeks’ rehab before resuming play with Kitchener.