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Friday, January 6, 2012
Swedes basking in World Juniors win

By Katie Strang

There were some happy Swedes in the Devils' dressing room Friday morning given their native country's 1-0 OT win over Russia in the World Junior Hockey Championships' Gold-medal game Thursday night.

Rookie Adam Larsson, goaltender Johan Hedberg and injured center Jacob Josefson didn't do much to antagonize their Russian teammate Ilya Kovalchuk -- friendly bets were made over the outcome -- but were all smiles following the victory.

Even Larsson, who would've likely been playing last night had he not made the Devils' team out of training camp.

"I'd rather play here. Of course it would've been fun to play in the World Juniors final, but still I think this is a dream for any young kid," he said. "I'm just happy for them and happy for the Swedish people."

At one point during Thursday's festivities, Larsson's fellow countryman Hedberg asked him if he had mixed feelings.

"I asked him how he felt about it. He said it and I believed him, that he was really happy for them. I asked him ' Where would you rather be? There or the NHL? And he said, 'NHL, any day." I'm sure a piece of him wanted to be there but at the same you have to be happy for the guys that can experience it. He's living a pretty good life, anyway."

Hedberg said it was great to see the joy on the faces of the young kids and important to further the case for a strong Swedish hockey development program.

"It was great for Swedish hockey," Hedberg said. "It shows that they were running a good program and they've been doing a lot of good things over past ten years."