Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Flying Under the Radar

photo: Aftonbladet
When I first started blogging in July, preseason camps were just about to begin and I was looking over the 'Canes roster and seeing the same old faces. One totally unfamiliar face was Nicklas Nordgren-never heard of the guy. Did some Web research. Searching for "Nordgren" can be real cool cause you get links to bikini pix of Tiger's turbo-hottie wife. After this tasty diversion, I found one posting from a Zetterberg fan site and an article on a Swedish website that includes video. (You can run the second site through a translator and get a rough idea of the narrative). There is one interesting tidbit in the this second piece of media. The article basically announces Nordgren's impending departure to Raleigh. It seems (if I interpret the crappy translation correctly) that Nicklas had a glitch in his contract that would have totally released him from any rights ownership with the 'Canes if he didn't make the big club. I guess the LaRose or Nordgren decision was a no brainer, huh?

I exchanged emails over the night with Joachim Sandstrom, webmaster for the Timra Red Eagles, about Nordgren. Like Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, and teamate Frankie Kaberle, NN is a product of Sweden's Modo Hockey factory. A cursory glance tells me Modo is kind a of a Soviet style hockey immersion program. Here's a line from their website, "Since the sixties we have developed our own training model in order to rear youngsters into becoming world-class ice hockey players for whom team spirit and solidarity are the cornerstones." Sounds suspiciously like it could have been the mission statement of the old Red Army program. Dah comrade?

Joachim echoes what John Forslund and others are saying about his skating ability. He also says Nordgren's real value on the Red Eagles was on the PP. According to Joachim, he's a heck of a sniper. He finished second in scoring to Henrik Zetterberg on the third place Eagles, and played with Zetterberg on the Swedish Elite team's #1 line. I think we saw a glimpse of that talent with the two shorthanded goals Nordgren scored in the final preseason games.

All the preseason prognosticators have the 'Canes way down on the power rankings largely because the boys have done bupkis in the scoring department. Stillman, Whitney, Staal, Vasicek, Vrbata, and now maybe Nordgren will be counted on to change all that. We'll know soon enough. The puck drops tomorrow night.

Here's NN's career stats: http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=9935

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