Friday, February 21, 2014
B's happy to see Eriksson excel in Olympics
By Tony Lee
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Loui Eriksson’s first season with the Bruins has been marked by injuries, as the former Dallas Star has suffered multiple concussions and recently lost some teeth when he took a stick to the mouth at St. Louis.
His teammates and coaching staff have seen improvement, however, and nobody was surprised when it was Eriksson scoring the initial goal for Sweden in a 2-1 win over Finland in the semifinals at Sochi on Friday.
“He’s a world-class player and he’s showing that,” said center Chris Kelly.
Eriksson has two goals, an assist and ranks among Sweden’s leaders in ice time during the games, prompting Kelly to wish for his teammate to receive some rest following his return to Boston. At the same time, Eriksson’s recent play has some of his teammates excited for the right wing to rejoin them.
The 28-year-old Eriksson has just one goal since Thanksgiving but recovered from the incident in St. Louis to produce his second multi-assist effort against Ottawa in the final game before the Olympics break. In addition, he is averaging 2.3 shots over his last eight games and has at least one point in four of his last seven outings, small indicators of increased comfort.
“Playing in the Olympics, I thought he’s played very well, but in our games I think he’s just getting into areas and starting to feel more comfortable,” assistant coach Doug Houda said Friday. “He was in one area for a long time. Since coming to us he’s getting better all the time. He’s jelling with his linemates. I just think he has a really good stick and he puts himself in smart positions.”
The hope is that Eriksson can use the momentum he gained before the break and during it while in Sochi into being a key contributor going forward.
“It was nice to see, big goal this morning,” Milan Lucic said. “I think he started to find his game again in the last 6-7 games before the Olympic break started. Obviously down the stretch we’re gonna need him to continue to play well and be a big part of this team if we want to have success.”
Eriksson and his current mates go for gold Sunday in Sochi.