The Nashville Predator's Patric Hornqvist has traveled a interesting journey from being the last player chosen in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft to playing on one of the top lines of Sweden, the defending Olympic champion at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
The 23 year old native of Sollentuna, Sweden, grew up playing hockey in his native land. He played on a couple of different junior teams as well as for Djurgarden in the competitive Swedish Elite league.
As a twenty year old, Hornqvist was named the Rookie of the Year in Sweden in 2006-2007 scoring a team high 23 goals, which broke the rookie record set by his boyhood idol, Peter Forsberg.
That season, he also had his first adult international experience playing in both the World Juniors and the World Championships.
The following season he played in Sweden again and returned to the World Championships in Quebec City, Halifax. It was there, in Canada, that he really caught the attention of the Predators as he led Sweden in goals with six, which was the second highest number in an event that is second only to the Olympics in prestige of international competitions.
Hornqvist came to North America for the first time last season when he played 28 games for the Predators and 49 games for the Pred's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.
He started the 2008-2009 season with the Predators but was over-matched and spent the season shuttling between Nashville and Milwaukee. With the Preds, he had two goals and five assists. While in Milwaukee he had more success, scoring 17 goals and picking up 18 assists.
At the end of last season, Hornqvist sat down with the Predator's brass and was given specific things that he was expected to accomplish in the off season. During the summer, he worked with a coach in Europe and made vast strides in his skating ability .
The biggest difference this season has been his mental adjustment to the NHL level of play. His confidence has grown, game by game as the game has "slowed down for him" as Coach Barry Trotz describes his transformation into a top-six forward for the Predators.
His statistics are indicative of his improved play as he leads the Predators with 23 goals and also has 14 assists. Hornqvist has earned most of his points by going to the "dirty" areas, battling in front of the net and in the corners.
Barry Trotz has repeatedly compared him to fellow Swede, Tomas Holmstrom, who is one of the best at setting up in front of the net, distracting the goaltender and putting loose rebounds into the net.
While Hornqvist is the second youngest player on Team Sweden, based on his excellent play this year in the NHL, he was placed on one of the the top two lines with Peter Forsberg and Henrik Zetterberg, who are both future NHL Hall of Famers.
Sweden is the defending gold medal team from 2006 and is one of six teams in Vancouver that is expected to compete for medals.
In Predator Nation...
Matt Reitz has a much better story on Patric Hornqvist than the one above that I wrote for the Daily Herald. View from My Seats is one of the best hockey sites on the web. It should be a daily read for all.
Jim Diamond writes about Ryan Suter and Shea Weber logging big minutes for their Olympic teams.
From Dirk the @Forechecker: "OnTheForecheck.com passed the 500,000 page-view mark earlier this morning, as the 1st anniversary approaches". Congrats to Dirk for a great year and the best Pred's coverage available anywhere.
Dirk also has the final piece of the SWOT series on Threats and will have his compilation soon.
Twitter humor related to a Tweet by @dellis39: Coming out of this break it will be fun to see how DP improves the squad. It is gonna be a sprint right to the finish. We will need you fans
The parody David Polie account was resurrected... RT @DavidPoile: @dellis39 Don't worry, I've got big plans for this team. We just have to make sure Radulov doesn't catch his plane out of Vancouver.
Ryan Suter makes USA Today. He also has a video interview at NHL All Access.
The Hockey News has a nice Shea Weber piece too.
Here's a request from a Preds prospect for help in is class. Add Him! RT @BlakeGeoffrion: So if i have the most "followers" on my twitter account i recieve 1 extra credit point in my class so lets spread the word ladies and gents.
Rachel has another entry into the Olympic commercial smackdown, this one from Canada with kids acting like kids.
The first two upsets of the Olympic hockey tournament came on Thursday as Canada only got two of three points as they was taken to the shootout and eventually beat Switzerland 3-2. In the late game, Slovakia beat Russia 2-1 in the shoot-out. Team USA played the role that they were expected to play as they beat Norway 6-1.
Today's schedule includes Belarus and Sweden at 2:00 p.m. CST (USA), Czech Republic and Latvia at 6:30 p.m CST (CNBC), and Finland and Germany at 10:55 p.m. CST (CNBC).
The Hockey Zen Episode 41 asks the question Gary Bettman wouldn't answer, "Should NHL players play in the Olympics?"
Our Monday guest on POTG Radio, Steve Lapore, takes NBC to task over their poor hockey coverage.
Also from our other Monday guest from Intent to Blow, comes a post on the NHL making rules to slow down Ovechkin.
Tom Reed at Puck-Rakers takes a shot at the peacock. The Wall Street Journal Online gets in on the NBC bashing.
For those wanting to give NBC the Bird, go here to a graphic designed by Travis Hair that he says is free for all to use.
As expected, no decision on the 2014 Olympics for NHL players will be forthcoming anytime soon.
Michelle Kenneth has here third post in her Olympic series. This time it is on Ilya Kovalchuk.
Here's the story on the fake jeans that the USA snowboarders are wearing.
Finally, Puck Central has the video of Chris Chelios' DUI arrest. He didn't look too steady.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass