In his days with the New York Rangers, Anders Hedberg was always tough on the Detroit Red Wings. In 20 NHL games against Detroit, Hedberg counted 9-11-20 totals. The Red Wings were among five NHL squads against which finished his career averaging a point per game.
Decades have passed since Hedberg’s halcyon years, but the Swedish legend remains unrelenting in his harshness towards the Red Wings. Well, in this case he’s being tough on one Detroit player in particular.
— NHL Sverige (@NHLsv) August 3, 2022
Hedberg has a bone to pick with Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond.
Among the first Swedish players to make a name for himself in the North American game, Hedberg never forgot his roots. He always was ready to answer his country’s call. Over his career, he would be donning the Three Crowns of the Swedish national team in the World Junior Championship. He would also suit up for three IIHF World Championships and a pair of Canada Cups.
Hedberg Calling Out Red Wings Raymond
This is where Hedberg’s problems with Raymond originate. In an interview with Swedish website Aftonbladet, Hedberg is taking Raymond to task for passing on last month’s World Juniors. He’s especially disappointed in the young Red Wings player for skipping last spring’s World Championship tournament in Finland.
“The three best Swedish players did not participate in the JVM even though the NHL is several months away,” Hedberg started out. Raymond, Alexander Holtz of the New Jersey Devils and William Eklund of the San Jose Sharks all skipped the tourney.
What really is irking Hedberg, though, is that Raymond, after originally agreeing to play, ended up opting out of the world tourney. His reasoning? He was worn out after a long NHL roookie season.
— Anders Blomberg (@RedBlomman) September 11, 2022
“We had a Swede in Detroit who did not play the WC last spring because he was ‘too tired,'” Hedberg noted, referring to Raymond. “A 35-year-old with three children at home, I understand that. But a 20-year-old should be able to get to a WC final. Too tired? Then he is up too much at night.
“For my generation, Tre Kronor was the most important thing there was, without competition, and I think that Swedish ice hockey must get better at pushing that line. Of course, the individual’s freedom is inviolable, but these players would never have become as good as they have become, got where they got to, if they hadn’t received their education here, if they hadn’t been allowed to spend every day together in junior national teams with other talented players.
“Shouldn’t more people realize that you then have a responsibility to pay back for that teaching? You do that by standing up for the national team.”
Hedberg Has A Valid Point
Raymond can’t be held responsible for skipping the World Juniors. That choice was at the behest of the Red Wings.
However, his decision to pass on last spring’s worlds is another matter. Hedberg’s reasoning is valid. If Raymond was too tired to represent his country because of the long NHL season, what would he have done were the Red Wings to have made the playoffs?