While the NHL playoffs have only just started and the AHL playoffs are getting ready to begin, the Swedish Hockey League is already in their championship series. We have a vested interest in this one, as Detroit's 2014 7th round pick Axel Holmström has been a key player for his club Skellefteå AIK, who currently lead Frolunda 1-0 in their best-of-seven series, but unfortunately have to do it without Holmström.
The soon-to-be-20 year old center injured his knee in game six of Skellefteå's semifinal series and is uncertain to return before the season ends. Holmström had six points in ten games up to that point of the tournament. With his injury being a topic of conversation, Swedish news site Aftonbladet spoke with Skellefteå's team doctor Karin Rundblad about how lil' Homer is doing and also about Detroit's role in the process.
Friend of the blog @Zeb_Habs passed along this tidbit to us and our own Christian Neubacher translated the conversation for us. The entire interview can be found here on Aftonbladet's website. Here's what was said about Holmström
Tomas Ros, Reporter: Also missing was Axel Holmström, who was a star player during the playoffs last year, what is his status?
Karin Rundblad, Doctor Skellefteå AIK: Well, he is incredibly frustrated, he wants to be out on the ice. He had to be up in the stands during the last game, and that was the worst he had ever had to be a part of, so we all want him back. But again we know what the injury is, and today he is with Sports Medicine in Umeå, so he is in good hands.
But it is not only our decision, he is a Detroit player as well, so we are having a discussion with them also.
Reporter: How does that dialog work?
Doctor: Well we call them (laughs), and then we tell them what we are thinking, which we do with all players who have a contract with the NHL, KHL, or Allsvenskan, that is our responsibility.
Reporter: Can Detroit stop him from playing?
Doctor: Yes, they can do that, he is of course their player, but we have discussions with them, which we use to come to a decision together, and they have full confidence in our work, so it is not likely that that would be the case.
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All-in-all it would be weird for the Red Wings to second guess the team doctor who has been with Holmström all season to protect a 7th-rounder (despite the fact that his play since being drafted has already greatly increased his stock from such a low draft position), so the answer isn't in the least bit surprising, but it's always interesting to hear from the people doing the job how it works.
Thanks again to Patrik and Christian for the assist.