Heat gettin' to Tellqvist

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Thousands of kilometres of frigid Atlantic waters separate the tight-knit community of St. John's and the cosmopolitan city of Stockholm.

That's just the way Mikael Tellqvist likes it.

At least life on the Rock will shield him from the whining and finger-pointing in Sweden regarding the national team's perceived flop during the recent World Cup of hockey.

A humiliating 6-1 quarter-final loss on home ice to the Czech Republic had a nation of Tre Kroner zealots calling for heads to roll. Sure enough, coach Hardy Nilsson took the fall and was fired last Thursday.

But Nilsson was not the only one being fitted for yellow and blue goat horns back in Sweden, where the one-sided defeat was considered a national disgrace.

Goalies Tellqvist and Tommy Salo also came under fire.

"It was tough," Tellqvist said. "Hardy Nilsson got most of the blame but, as players, we have to accept some, too.

"The whole tournament was about getting down on the goalies. Tommy was made out to be the worst goalie in history because of the mistake he made against Belarus at the Salt Lake City Olympics and I took my share of heat, too."

Salo's only appearance in the World Cup came in an opening-game victory over Germany. Tellqvist, who played the remainder of the games, was ripped for a pair of mediocre performances against the Czechs, including a 4-3 preliminary-round win.

He refused to talk to reporters after the Swedes had been eliminated.

"Some of the media over there know nothing about hockey," he said. "You just try to put it behind you and move on."


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