Henrik Sedin has confirmed that he will not play in the Sochi Winter Olympics, echoing a Swedish press report.
The Vancouver Canucks issued a statement on their captain's behalf Thursday afternoon:
"I'm disappointed not to be physically able to represent my country at the Winter Olympic Games. This is a difficult decision but ultimately the best decision for me personally, Team Sweden and the Vancouver Canucks. I wish my teammates the best and look forward to returning to play."
The release noted that Sedin would be available to answer questions after the Canucks play the Montreal Canadiens Thursday evening.
Sedin has been dealing with a suspected rib injury, and team coach John Tortorella said on Thursday morning that Sedin would not play against the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday night nor against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday.
Team president Mike Gillis on Thursday afternoon said on local Vancouver radio that a final decision had not been made about Sedin and the Olympics but said it would rest with the Canucks team doctor, Bill Regan, a respected orthopedic surgeon.
Gillis said he "can't answer" whether Dr. Regan would say Sedin couldn't play for Sweden due to injury and noted the decision was the Canucks', not Sweden's. "That's the reality of the IOC/NHL relationship," Gillis said on Team 1040 radio.
Calls to several Canucks officials were not immediately returned after the news from Sweden emerged.
"We haven't even gotten there," Tortorella told reporters Thursday morning when asked about Henrik's availability for Sochi. "We have discussions, but we haven't even gotten there."
The Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet report said Thursday afternoon that Sedin is definitely out, quoting the Canuck directly. It is a blow for Sweden, a medal contender, given that Sedin had been set to centre the country's top line, with his twin brother Daniel and Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson.
Sedin is believed to have been injured in a Jan. 16 game in Phoenix. He played part of a Jan. 18 game against Calgary and then missed six games – his first missed games in nearly a decade in the National Hockey League. Sedin came back to play against Detroit on Feb. 3 and Boston on Feb. 4, trying to play through pain, but was not himself.