NHL talent fails to make impact
More NHL players have migrated to Sweden during the NHL lockout, but they have yet to help rocket their teams to the top of the standings in either of the country's top two leagues.
In the Elitserien, the country's No. 1 league, HV71 remains atop the standings with 59 points as it holds a two-point lead over second-place Luleå HF. Neither team features an NHL player. Nor does third-place Skellefteå, 54 points, or fourth-place Farjestad, 51 points. Linköping sits in fifth place with 48 points.
Sixth-place Brynäs, the defending league champion, is the first team in the top eight with an NHL player. The Tigers feature Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson, but Franson has been unable to help a blue line unit that has allowed 13 more goals than the offense has scored. Seventh-place Modo is home to Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues. Steen has 28 points so far this season while Modo has amassed just 44 points from 29 games. Eighth-place Frölunda boasts Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche but his presence has yet to help the Chiefs who are 13-15 with 41 points.
In Allsvenskan, the league's second-tier league, leader Leksand IF is atop the league with 34 points. In third place is Västerås, which features Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund and Patrik Berglund of the Blues. In seventh place with 26 points is Mora IK, which features Anze Kopitar of the Calgary Flames, who are one point ahead of Södertälje SK, which has Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers and Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers. Södertälje is three points ahead of of Djugården IF and Douglas Murray of the San Jose Sharks.

Guidetti in pizza attack
Throwing pizza at Italian striker Mario Balotelli may not be the best way to cement a place on Manchester City’s first team, but youngster John Guidetti insists it is the only way to beat him.
The 20-year-old attacker has rejoined Dutch side Feyenoord for his second season on loan and is grateful to even be mentioned alongside City’s strikers Balotelli, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko.
City, which had the most potent attacking force in the Premier League last year, is struggling to find its shooting boots this season. The Swedish youngster could be the answer Roberto Mancini is looking for—if he can stop the off-pitch politics.
“To stop Mario I’d probably throw some pasta or pizza—something Italian because he likes that kind of food,” Guidetti told CityTV. “I’d get him off guard and actually have a chance of beating him as he’s quite good at taekwondo.”
Guidetti bagged a remarkable 20 league goals in 23 Eredivisie games during his first season with Feyenoord. With a scoring record on par with the world’s best two players, Guidetti likened himself to Cristiano Ronaldo as opposed to Lionel Messi.
“I’m a Ronaldo guy. I like the ‘all about me’ thing and I think he has that charisma everybody wants—some hate him, some don’t,” he said.
Guidetti is forever the focus of transfer rumors. The latest have him moving to Sampdoria in Italy, Bolton in England and Hamburg in Germany.


Helsingborg, Östers hire new coaches; Malmö holds course
Helsingborg turned to a newcomer to guide the team back to what it hopes will be another championship, plucking Roar Hansen away from just-promoted Östers.
Hansen, 46, has never coached in a level above the Superettan. He led Ängelholms from Division 2 to the Superettan before taking over Östers. He guided the Östers team from Växjö to the Allsvenskan this past season. The new Helsingborg manager also spent 18 years alternating between working in a factory and coaching lower-level club sides.
Hansen replaces Age Hereide, who took over HIF during the summer when Conny Karlsson decided to retire for health reasons.
Östers didn’t wait long to find its new mentor, hiring Andreas Thomasson away from Åtvidaberg.
“He is a young, hungry coach,” said Östers sport chief Peter Johansson. “He did a very good job at Åtvidaberg and this is exactly the type of leader we want for Östers.”
Malmö, meanwhile, ignored shouts of protect from its fans and gave head coach Rikard Norling and general manager Per Ågren contract extensions. Fans demanded the heads of both after Malmö failed to claim the gold medal and the board dithered somewhat in giving either an extension. When the 2012 season ended, popular players Daniel Larsson and Wilton Figueiredo left the club. Larsson signed as a free agent with Valladolid while Figueiredo’s future is unclear. The speculation over the leadership came to an end, however, when the club announced it would keep Norling and Ågren.
Malmö also announced it would travel to Florida for a preseason training camp and tournament. The team has yet to announce dates or opponents.