Sweden will lose defenseman Ulf Samuelsson in the Olympic men's hockey tournament because of a citizenship problem but won't have to forfeit its two victories, the International Ice Hockey Federation decided today.
The decision means there will be no reordering of the quarterfinal matchups, which would have happened if Sweden had been required to forfeit its points so far.Samuelsson has valid passports from both Sweden and the United States, and under Swedish law that means he is not a Swedish citizen, federation spokesman Paolo Ianieri said today.
As a result, the federation today declared Samuelsson ineligible to play for Sweden in the tournament. But the organization said Sweden could keep its points and play Finland in the quarterfinals Wednesday as scheduled.
If Sweden had been required to forfeit its two victories, it would have dropped from second place to fourth in its pool and would have faced unbeaten Russia instead of Finland.
CAP FLAP: The home team is doing great - they've won three golds already, and the games are only halfway finished. So why are Japan's coaches apologizing so profusely?
It's the cap flap.
Team officials are in full damage-control mode over the failure of gold medalist Tae Satoya to remove a baseball cap during a flag-raising ceremony for her free-style skiing victory last week.
Though Satoya's surprise gold in the mogul competition has been cause for celebration to many, her podium gaffe, which was televised, has also generated a flood of complaints to the Japan Olympic Committee.
Yushiro Yagi, head of Japan's delegation to the games, said Satoya has been sternly reprimanded and all coaches have been instructed to exercise more caution to keep such embarrassments from recurring.
Yagi said the 21-year-old skier, who finished 11th at Lillehammer, left the cap on because she "was afraid that her hair was a mess" and was a bit overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment.
SUSPENSION BRIDGING: The International Ice Hockey Federation is pushing for rules cooperation between itself and the National Hockey League, in particular about suspended players.
Belarus' Ruslan Salie and the United States' Gary Suter are both playing in the Nagano Olympics despite being under NHL suspension. Suter was suspended for four games following a body-check that injured Paul Kariya, whose concussion has kept him from competing for Team Canada in the Winter Games.
"I think that will be matter of discussion in the next negotiation," said IIHF president Rene Fasel said of suspension issues.
Opposite cases have happened as well, where playin Europe are suspended on the international level and go to play in the NHL, where the suspensions do not apply.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wasn't as committed to making policy changes, saying each organization should be responsible for itself in deciding how to handle discipline and player participation.
ELVIS TAKES IT EASY: Canada's Elvis Stojko, reigning world figure shaking champion, says he expects to defend his title in Minneapolis next month. Stojko recently won the silver medal in Nagano despite reinjuring a groin muscle.
"The chances look pretty good," he said of competing at next month's World Championships. "It's just a matter of rest. I have to make sure I don't do anything for a while. I can't skate for a while."
You heard right:
"To maybe get down here and win a medal or hit the fence - I've hit the fence too many times."
- U.S. skier Picabo Street, on her somewhat conservative race style that placed her sixth in the women's downhill.
Enterprising (and fast) street entrepreneurs are currently hawking "OH CANNABIS" T-shirts around Nagano for approximately 3,000 yen ($25 U.S.) each. They have the Canadian flag printed on them, but the maple leaf looks a little malnourished.