International Ice Hockey Federation

New direction for Denmark

New direction for Denmark

Swedish coach, more NHLers raise ambitions

Published 08.05.2014 15:10 GMT+3 | Author John Sanful
New direction for Denmark
Philip Larsen is one among the record number of Danish NHL players. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Denmark finished 12th at the 2013 Worlds. Over the past three years, Denmark hasn’t reached its potential given the development of NHL-calibre talent.

With new leadership behind the bench, many of its top performers committed to be here in Minsk and some new faces in the lineup, Denmark must show they are able to regain the form that served them well and has made them a tough team to beat since 2003.


Patrick Galbraith and Simon Nielsen split time in goal at the 2013 World Championship. Nielsen was outstanding with a 2.19 goals against average and 91.35% saves percentage. Nielsen also notched both of Denmark’s wins in the tournament. Galbraith lost all three games he started, although he was sublime in the 2010 World Championship where he beat both the Americans and Slovaks. Both goaltenders played in competitive leagues; Galbraith in Sweden’s Allsvenskan and Nielsen in Finland’s SM-Liiga.


Stefan Lassen was one of Denmark’s most effective defenceman on last year’s team. He as the only plus player on defense and led blueliners with a goal and three points. However, Denmark will benefit greatly with the inclusion of its best overall defenceman, Philip Larsen. Denmark needs more production from its defence. Defencemen scored only two of the team’s 13 goals. They could also use greater support in their zone in front.

There are several new faces on the national team, including Phillip Bruggisser, Anders Overmark, Jannik Christensen and Emil Kristensen. The Laurildsen brothers, Markus and Oliver, are both effective stay-at-home defencemen who can play physical hockey. The brothers were noteworthy contributors in Denmark’s 2013 tournament experience.

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Denmark will have leading scorer Kim Staal to provide veteran leadership. Denmark’s true scorers and most talented forwards are Mikkel Bodker and Jannik Hansen. Both are available after their NHL teams failed to qualify for the playoffs. They will either be paired on a top line or split between the top six forwards. Bodker enjoyed his finest pro season with 19 goals and 51 points for the Phoenix Coyotes. Either way, both are capable of scoring goals. There are a number of talented centers on the team, including longtime national team members Morten Green, Julian Jakobsen and Jesper Jensen. Green led Denmark in 2013 with three goals in the Stockholm tournament.


Janne Karlsson takes over for Per Backman as Denmark’s head coach. The 55-year-old Karlsson has been coaching since 1995 after his playing career ended. He led HV71 to the Swedish Elitserien title in 2010. Karlsson has previous recent international experience, working with the Swedish national team as an assistant coach at the 2006 Olympics and World Championship. Sweden won both tournaments that year.

Projected Results

Sitting in Group A, Denmark can be a very strong contender to move forward in the tournament after the Preliminary Round. There are the top three teams that will be tough to beat (Canada, defending champions Sweden and the Czech Republic) but Denmark should compete well against the remaining four teams in their group. A consistent effort early on might advance the cause.


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