Sweden picks up Lundqvist for World Championships

Sweden picks up Lundqvist for World Championships
Olympic gold medallist Henrik Lundqvist has agreed to join the Swedish national team for the remainder of the World Ice Hockey Championships.

The star National Hockey League goaltender had to get clearance from the New York Rangers before he could play in the 2008 Worlds.

Swedish team manager Mats Näslund said on Tuesday night that 26-year-old Lundqvist is on his way to the Worlds but his status for Wednesday’s game against Switzerland is uncertain.

“The Rangers have cleared him and Lundqvist will arrive in Quebec City (Wednesday),” Näslund said.

He joins Swedish goalies Mikael Tellqvist and Stefan Liv but it is expected that Lundqvist will get the starting role.

Sweden beat Belarus 6-5 in their opener and then trounced France 9-0 on Monday.

This will mark Lundqvist’s fourth World Championships. He led Sweden to Olympic gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy.

The Rangers were eliminated from the NHL post-season on the weekend after losing their quarter-final series four games to one to Pittsburgh.

Lundqvist will add some star power to Sweden’s lineup, which is already missing many of its top players. Mats Näslund, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Peter Forsberg are either injured or decided to skip the event.

Lundqvist, of Åre, was named top netminder at the 2004 World Championship and has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy which is awarded each year to the NHL’s top goalie.

Canadian Martin Brodeur (who is not at the Worlds) and Russian Evgeni Nabokov (who is joining Team Russia later in the week) are also in the running for this year’s Vezina Trophy.