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Red Wings Goalie Nedeljkovic Injured, Won’t Play For USA At Worlds

A lower-body injury will be keeping Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic from playing in the IIHF World Championship

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Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is out of the world championship due to a lower-body injury.

Detroit Red Wings netminder Alex Nedeljkovic has been dropped from the USA Hockey roster for the IIHF World Championship in Finland.

Former NHL goalie Kevin Weekes, who works for ESPN and the NHL Network, is reporting that Nedeljkovic is out of the tournament due to a lower-body injury. The USA is 2-0 in the tournament but Nedeljkovic didn’t suit up for either games.

Former Michigan Wolverine Strauss Mann, who played for Skelleftea of the Swedish League this season, was in goal for the USA’s 4-1 opening-night victory over Latvia. Jon Gillies of the New Jersey Devils served as his backup.

Mann was again in goal for Sunday’s game with Austria, with Gillies on the bench as backup. Improving to 2-0, the Americans were required to rally from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory over the Austrians.

Prior to the tournament, Nedeljkovic was expressing excitement at the opportunity to again wear his country’s colors on the international stage. He’s previously donned the Team USA jersey at the World Junior and World Under-18 tournaments.

“It was a pretty easy decision honestly,” Nedeljkovic said. “Anytime you get to represent your country it’s a great honor, it’s a special opportunity. You don’t always get to do it.

“At any level – world championship, world juniors, whatever it is, I think it’s a great honor and I think everybody should take advantage of it if they have the opportunity to do so.”

Six Red Wings Still In Tournament

Even with the departure of Nedeljkovic, there are still six Red Wings players participating in the world tourney. Center Pius Suter is playing for Switzerland. The Swiss are off to a 2-0 start. Suter has one assist through the two games.

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Grand Rapids Griffins forward Riley Barber, who played four games for the Wings this season, scored the first goal for Team USA in the win over Latvia. Forward Jakub Vrana and defenseman Filip Hronek are playing for the Czechia, who are 1-1. Sweden improved to 2-0 Sunday with a 5-3 victory over the Czechs. Red Wings goalie Magnus Hellberg made 18 saves in earning the victory for the 2-0 Swedes. Defenseman Moritz Seider is playing a starring role for 1-1 Germany.

Forward Elmer Soderblom, a 2019 Red Wings draft pick, is in Finland with the Swedish team but is awaiting to see if he’ll be an addition to the active roster. Former Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is working as an assistant coach with Team USA.

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