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ICEHOCKEY

Detroit agree contract extension with Lidström

Nicklas Lidström, one of the National Hockey League's top defensemen, agreed to terms on a contract extension on Wednesday with the Detroit Red Wings.

Lidström agreed on a two-year extension that will keep him with the club through the 2009-2010 season.

In his 15 seasons with Detroit, Lidström has amassed 205 goals and 695 assists in 1,212 games.

In 192 playoff games he has 39 goals and 97 assists and he helped the Red Wings capture the Stanley Cup in 1996-97, 1997-98, and 2001-02.

The 37-year-old Swede, a five-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s outstanding defenseman, is currently second among defensemen in scoring with three goals and 29 assists.

In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Lidström scored the game winner for Sweden in the gold medal game against Finland.

He joined the small group of players to have been part of teams that won a Stanley Cup, a hockey world championship, and an Olympic gold medal.

Lidström, who became Detroit’s captain after longtime Red Wings center Steve Yzerman retired in 2006, is currently the top vote-getter in Western Conference All-Star balloting.

ICEHOCKEY

Swedish ice hockey team faces strong Russia

The Swedes face a tough test in Saturday's ice hockey world championships semi-final against 2012 winners Russia, who are seeking redemption for their Sochi Olympic flop.

Swedish ice hockey team faces strong Russia
Sweden's Gustav Nyquist goes up against Belarus in the qualifying rounds. Photo: TT

The Swedish squad came to Minsk with ten players who had never played in the world championship before. The team struggled throughout the preliminary round before winning a place in the last four by edging out hosts Belarus 3-2.

This hard-fought win seems to have boosted the Swedes' confidence ahead of the dangerous semi-final confrontation with the Russians.

"They have those two superstars of course, but also a great team," Swede Gustav Nyquist, a Detroit Red Wings right winger, said of Russians Alexander Ovechkin and Yevgeny Malkin.

"But we're good too and have shown what we can do. It'll be a tight game. The results in the quarter-finals goes to show that any team of the four remaining can win this."

Russia, the only team with a perfect record at the event, look favourites to win with strong performances in all areas of the ice, including defence. The team has allowed just seven goals in eight matches.

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