Carey Price is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who plays for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. He is considered to be one of the best goaltenders in the world by many colleagues, The Hockey News, EA Sports. Beginning his junior career with the Tri-City Americans in the Western Hockey League in 2002, Price was drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft following his second season with the Tri-City Americans. Following a further two seasons with the Americans, where he won both the Del Wilson Trophy as the top goaltender in the Western Hockey League and CHL Goaltender of the Year in his final season of major junior in 2007. Joining the Canadiens' farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League just as the Calder Cup playoffs begun, Price led the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup championship, winning the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the tournament MVP. Price made the Canadiens roster for the 2007–08 season as the backup goaltender before becoming the starting goaltender that season.
In 2015, he was the winner of the Ted Lindsay, Jennings and Hart trophies, becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to win all four individual awards in the same season. Internationally, Price has represented Canada at various tournaments at junior levels, winning silver medals at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in 2004 and the IIHF World U18 Championship in 2005, he won a gold medal at the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden. In 2014, Price was named to the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team and won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Price's play earned him the tournament's top goaltending award, from the International Ice Hockey Federation directorate. In 2016 Price went undefeated to win his first World Cup of Hockey championship. Carey Price was born in Vancouver to Jerry Price, his mother is the former chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation. His father was a goaltender. Although Jerry never played in the NHL, he did play four seasons of professional hockey in various leagues and was for a time the goaltending coach of the Tri-City Americans.
Price has a sister and his second cousin is fellow ice hockey player Shane Doan. When Price was three, his family moved to the remote town of Anahim Lake in northern British Columbia where he was raised, he was taught to play goaltender by his father on a frozen creek during the winter months and played organized hockey in Williams Lake over five hours and 320 kilometres away by car on Highway 20. Having to make the ten-hour round trip three days a week, Carey's father bought a plane to fly him to practice and games. Growing up, Price's favourite NHL team was the Edmonton Oilers and he idolized Marty Turco and Patrick Roy. Price made his first appearance in the Western Hockey League in a single game for the Tri-City Americans during the 2002–03 season, he made the Tri-City roster the next season, appearing in 28 games as the backup for Colorado Avalanche prospect Tyler Weiman, posting a 2.38 Goals against average and.915 save percentage. The next season, Price took over as the primary starter of the team and established himself as a top goaltender, playing in a league-high 63 games with a 2.34 GAA and.920 save percentage and eight shutouts, both in the league top ten.
Ranking as the best North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting, Price was drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens, a move considered surprising by many who thought Price would not be drafted until the middle of the first round. During the 2005–06 season, Price's play in Tri-City suffered and he ended the season with a 2.87 GAA and a.906 save percentage while starting 55 games. Price rebounded the next season with a strong 2006–07 season, posting an excellent 2.45 GAA and.917 save percentage while winning both the Del Wilson Trophy as the top WHL goaltender and the CHL Goaltender of the Year award. Despite this, the Americans were eliminated in 6 games during the 2007 playoffs. Following Tri-City's early playoff exit that spring, Price joined the Montreal Canadiens farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, just before the start of the 2007 Calder Cup playoffs. In two regular season appearances with the Bulldogs, Price allowed only three goals and won one game. Price led the Bulldogs on a remarkable run that spring, defeating the Hershey Bears four games to one in the finals as the team won their first Calder Cup.
Price became only the third teenage goaltender to win the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as AHL playoff MVP, posting a 2.06 GAA and.936 save percentage. Price made his anticipated Canadiens debut on October 10, 2007, against the Pittsburgh Penguins and recorded 26 saves in a 3–2 win. After the first month of the season, he was awarded the Canadiens' Molson Cup for October, given to the player with the most first-star selections. Although reassigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs midway through the season in January, he was called back up shortly over a month later. With the trading of starting goaltender Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals before the trading deadline, Price assumed the starting role for the Canadiens, he was subsequently named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March and the NHL First Star of the Week as the Canadiens finished first overall in the Eastern Conference and earned their first division title since 1991–92. Price completed the regular season leading all rookie goaltenders in wins, save percentage and shutouts.
He was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in
Steven Stamkos is a Canadian professional ice hockey player and captain for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. Stamkos was the first overall pick in the 2006 OHL Entry Draft, from the Markham Waxers of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Playing with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, he scored 100 goals over two years. After a successful OHL career, Stamkos was selected first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, he is a two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner as the NHL's leading goal-scorer, is a two-time NHL Second Team All-Star and has been named to six NHL All-Star Games. Stamkos is of Scottish descent, he grew up in Unionville and played for the Markham Waxers in the Eastern AAA Hockey League of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. During one of his seasons with the North York Canadiens, he was teammates with current NHLer P. K. Subban. Stamkos won eight OMHA titles in a row in minor hockey and led his Waxers club to the OHL Cup title in March 2006.
He played in the 2003 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Markham Waxers. Stamkos attended Central Park Public School and St. Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ontario. After being drafted by the OHL's Sarnia Sting, he attended Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School in Sarnia. Following a season with the minor Waxers in which he scored 197 points over 66 games, Stamkos was selected first overall in the 2006 OHL Draft by the Sarnia Sting. Stamkos played with other notable current and former NHLers in his minor and junior hockey career, including Logan Couture, John Tavares, Michael Del Zotto, Cameron Gaunce, Cody Hodgson and P. K. Subban during his minor hockey career in the Greater Toronto Area. Joining the Sting in 2006–07, he recorded 92 points over 63 games as a junior rookie, he was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. Stamkos won the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL's scholastic player of the year for his academic efforts off the ice; the following season, Stamkos improved to 105 points over 61 games.
He was named to the OHL Second All-Star Team, but was selected to the CHL First All-Star Team, which encompasses all three national major junior leagues. Playing in his NHL draft-eligible season in 2007–08, Stamkos was top-ranked throughout the campaign by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and International Scouting Services, he won the CHL's Top Draft Prospect Award. As the 2008 NHL Entry Draft approached, Stamkos was seen as the best available centre, his primary competition for the top overall pick were defencemen Drew Doughty and Zach Bogosian, as well as Russian winger Nikita Filatov. The Tampa Bay Lightning, by virtue of their 2007–08 campaign in which they won an NHL-worst 31 games, owned the first pick; as expected, Stamkos was selected first overall by Tampa Bay. On July 29, 2008, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Lightning in which he could earn as much as $8.55 million in performance bonuses. Leading up to the start of the 2008–09 season, the Lightning centered their promotional efforts around Stamkos, including a website with the slogan "Seen Stamkos?"
Stamkos played in his first NHL game in Czech Republic, at the start of the 2008 -- 09 season. The Lightning fell to the New York Rangers 2–1 and were swept in Prague, he recorded his first point — a secondary assist — in his eighth game, against his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. Following the game, Stamkos commented that his hometown support was "louder than when the Leafs scored", he scored his first goal the next game against Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres. After 54 games, Stamkos recorded the first NHL hat-trick of his career, on February 17, 2009; the Lightning held a 3–1 lead midway through the second period on the strength of Stamkos' natural hat-trick, but were still beaten by the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, 5–3. The three goals enabled Stamkos to become the first rookie in Lightning history to score three goals in a game, he became the second-youngest player in NHL history to record a hat-trick. Though Stamkos was criticized for his lack of production during the first half of the season, in which he was limited to less than ten minutes of ice time some games, he finished the season with 19 points in his final 20 games.
In his rookie season, Stamkos totalled 46 points, as well as a − 13 plus-minus rating. Prior to the 2009–10 season, Stamkos spent the summer training extensively with former NHL player Gary Roberts, working on adding strength and endurance. Roberts got to know Stamkos in the 2008–09 season, his last in the NHL, he oversaw Stamkos' off-season workouts north of Toronto in Roberts' in-house gym, a quick drive from Stamkos' family home in Unionville. Stamkos spoke regarding the workouts: "It helped me a lot," Stamkos said. "I learned a lot about. There are certain aspects of my game that have improved because of that, I'll be there again this summer working hard, it gave me that extra jump for this season."In his second year with the Lightning, Stamkos began to find his range as an NHL sharpshooter and had a breakout season. Playing the bulk of the season on a line with Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie, Stamkos started the 2009–10 campaign with 10 goals in his first 11 games. Through the months of January and Feb
Evgeni Vladimirovich Malkin, nicknamed "Geno", is a Russian professional ice hockey centre and alternate captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Malkin began his career with his hometown club Metallurg Magnitogorsk, playing for their junior and senior teams, he was selected second overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, though an international transfer dispute delayed the start of his NHL career until 2006. After his first season with the Penguins Malkin was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie. In his second season, he helped lead Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final and was a runner-up for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL's most valuable player during the regular season; the following season saw Malkin win the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the top-scorer in the NHL and again place second for the Hart Trophy. He and the Penguins again reached the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Stanley Cup championship this time around.
Malkin was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs. In 2012, Malkin was awarded the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, awarded to the best player as voted on by the players, after winning the Art Ross Trophy for the second time. Internationally, Malkin has competed for Russia in two IIHF World U18 Championships and three IIHF World U20 Championships, capturing one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal, as a junior. In 2006, in addition to a silver medal, he was named tournament MVP; as a senior, he has played in four IIHF World Championships, winning the gold medal and being named the tournament MVP for the 2012 event. In addition he has won the bronze medals in two other World Championships and has played for team Russia during three Winter Olympic Games, in Turin and Sochi. Malkin was born on 31 July 1986 in Magnitogorsk to Natalia Malkin. Vladimir worked for Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, the largest iron and steel works in Russia and the city's dominant industry, played in the Metallurg Magnitogorsk youth and club hockey system.
Malkin has one brother, older by one year. Malkin began skating at age three, he joined his first organized hockey league two years later. He showed an aptitude for the sport at an early age, as one might expect from the son of a professional. However, because both of his parents were short, no one suspected Malkin would be a world-class athlete. Malkin owns a restaurant in Magnitogorsk, designed to look like the inside of a prison. Malkin became engaged to Russian television personality Anna Kasterova in November 2015. Six months on 31 May 2016 their first child, a son was born. In November 2017, Malkin announced his membership of the PutinTeam social movement, launched by compatriot and fellow NHLer Alexander Ovechkin in support of President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Malkin is a product of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk hockey program. Prior to being drafted, he made his Russian Superleague debut in the 2003–04 season as a 17-year-old, he made his international debut for Russia during the 2003 U-18 World Championships, where he skated on the top line with Alexander Ovechkin.
The team went on to claim the bronze medal. After his first professional season in Russia, Malkin was drafted second overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, a transfer dispute between the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation delayed his Pittsburgh debut. On 7 August 2006, it appeared the 20-year-old Malkin had come to a compromise with Metallurg and signed a deal that would have kept him in Russia until May 2007. However, Malkin stated he signed the one-year contract not as a compromise, but because of the immense "psychological pressure" his former club exerted on him. Desiring to play in the NHL, he left Metallurg Magnitogorsk's training camp in Helsinki before it began on 12 August, it would appear the team had taken Malkin's passport away to prevent him from leaving, but it was given back to him, Malkin was allowed to pass through Finnish customs. Meeting with his agent, J. P. Barry, the two departed and waited for Malkin's visa clearance from the U.
S. Embassy. In order to leave the team, on 15 August, Malkin invoked via fax a law allowing him to cancel his one-year contract by giving his employer two weeks' notice. Having untied himself of obligations in Russia, he was able to sign an entry-level contract with the Penguins on 5 September 2006. Following his first NHL game with Pittsburgh, on 19 October 2006, Malkin's former Russian hockey club filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NHL and the Penguins in the United States District Court for the southern district of New York; the lawsuit claimed Malkin should not be permitted to play in the NHL because he is still under contract in Russia. The claim sought unspecified damages as well; the motion for an injunction was denied on 15 November 2006, ensuring Malkin would continue play in the NHL that season. The lawsuit was dismissed on its merits by the District Court on 1 February 2007. In his first pre-season game with the Penguins, on 20 September 2006, Malkin collided with teammate John LeClair and dislocated his own shoulder, which forced him to miss the start of the season.
Subsequently, his NHL debut would be delayed until 18 October, against the New Jersey Devils, in which he scored his first goal against Martin Brodeur. Malkin set a modern NHL record. No player had achieved this feat since the NHL's inaugural season in 1917–18, when Joe Malone scored at least 1 goal in 14 conse
The Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in the Miami metropolitan area. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League; the team's local broadcasting rights has been held by Fox Sports Florida since 1996. The team played their home games at Miami Arena, before moving to the BB&T Center in 1998. Located in Sunrise, the Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL; the Panthers began playing in the 1993–94 NHL season. The team has made one appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, in 1996, the only season in which the Panthers have won a playoff series losing the Finals to the Colorado Avalanche; the team advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second time in 12 years in 2012, but were eliminated in seven games in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals by the New Jersey Devils, who won the Eastern Conference championship that season. The club is affiliated with one minor league team, the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.
Blockbuster Video magnate Wayne Huizenga was awarded an NHL franchise for Miami on December 10, 1992, the same day The Walt Disney Company earned the rights to start a team in Anaheim that would become the Mighty Ducks. At the time, Huizenga owned both the newly founded Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball and a share of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins; the entry fee was $50 million, but despite fellow Florida team Tampa Bay Lightning starting play the year before, the NHL did not consider it to be a case of territory infringement. Huizenga announced the team would play at the Miami Arena, sharing the building with the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat, until a new arena was built. Offices for the team were only established in June 1993, while vice president of business operations Dean Jordan conceded that "none of the business people, myself included, knew anything about hockey." On April 20, 1993, a press conference in Ft. Lauderdale announced that the team would be named Florida Panthers, with former New York Islanders general manager Bill Torrey as president and Bobby Clarke as general manager.
The team is named for the Florida panther, an endangered species of large cat endemic to the nearby Everglades region. Once the logos and uniforms were unveiled on June 15, the team announced its financial commitment to the panther preservation cause. Huizenga held the Panthers trademark since 1991, when he purchased it from a group of Tampa investors who sought to create an MLB team in the Tampa Bay area; the new franchise would join the NHL for participation in the 1993–94 season, along with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Panthers' and Ducks' roster was filled up in both the expansion draft and the 1993 NHL Entry Draft in June 1993, hosted by Quebec City; the Panthers' first major stars were New York Rangers goaltender castoff John Vanbiesbrouck, rookie Rob Niedermayer and forward Scott Mellanby, who scored 30 goals in Florida's inaugural season. Their first game was a 4–4 tie on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, while their first win was a 2–0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Thunderdome before a then-NHL record crowd of 27,227.
The Panthers had one of the most successful first seasons of any expansion team, finishing just two points below.500 and narrowly missing out on the final 1994 playoff spot in the East. Their first-year success was attributed to the "trap defense" that first-year coach Roger Neilson implemented; this conservative style was criticized by NHL teams. While the team executives expected the audience to consist of "snowbird" Canadians living in Florida, the Floridians soon embraced the Panthers. Helped by Miami's other teams having middling performances, the club averaged 94% capacity at the 14,500-seat Miami Arena, managed to sell 8,500 season tickets in 100 days. In August 1994, general manager Clarke left to work for the Philadelphia Flyers, while Bryan Murray was brought in from the Detroit Red Wings as his replacement. After another close brush with the playoffs, finishing the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season again in ninth, Neilson was fired following an argument with Murray regarding Ed Jovanovski, whom the Panthers chose as the number one overall pick at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
Doug MacLean, the team's player development director, was promoted to coach. The team acquired Ray Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks at the NHL trade deadline and looked toward the playoffs for the first time. A unusual goal celebration developed in Miami during the 1995–96 season. On the night of the Panthers' 1995–96 home opener, a rat scurried across the team's locker room. Scott Mellanby reacted by "one-timing" the rat against the wall; that night, he scored two goals, which Vanbiesbrouck quipped was "a rat trick." Two nights as the story found its way into the world, a few fans threw rubber rats on the ice in celebration of a goal. The rubber rat count went from 16 for the third home game to over 2,000 during the playoffs. In the 1996 playoffs, as the fourth seed in the East, the Panthers faced the Boston Bruins in the first round and won in five games. Bill Lindsay's famous series-clinching goal is still a trademark image for the incredible run the third-year franchise went on; the Panthers went on to upset the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in six games followed by the second-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in seven to reach the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche, another team making its first Finals appearan
James Neal (ice hockey)
James Neal, nicknamed The Real Deal, is a Canadian professional ice hockey winger for the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. While playing junior ice hockey with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, he was selected in the second round, 33rd overall, by the Dallas Stars in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. After one season with the Stars' American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Stars, Neal played his NHL rookie year with Dallas in 2008–09. During his third NHL season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he played four seasons before being traded to the Nashville Predators. After three seasons with the Predators, Neal was selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. Neal started in the CYO in Oshawa, grew up playing minor ice hockey for the Whitby Wildcats of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association's Eastern AAA League, he played in the 2001 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with Whitby. Among his minor hockey coaches was TSN broadcaster Bob McKenzie.
His father, coached him for the major part of his minor hockey career. After his midget season, he was selected by the Plymouth Whalers in the third round, 80th overall, of the 2003 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Before joining the major junior ranks, he was assigned to the Bowmanville Eagles, a Junior A club of the Ontario Hockey Association, for the 2003–04 season. Following his rookie season in the OHL, Neal was selected in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. Competing in his first NHL training camp, the Stars returned him to junior, where he recorded 21 goals and 58 points with Plymouth in 2005–06. Although Neal was returned again to junior following the Stars' 2006 training camp, he was signed by the club to a three-year, entry-level contract in late October 2006, he recorded a junior career-high 27 goals and 65 points over 45 games in 2006–07. During the season, he was chosen to represent the Western Conference in the 2007 OHL All-Star Game and scored a goal.
He helped Plymouth win the OHL title, scoring the championship winning goal in overtime in Game 6 against the Sudbury Wolves. He led. After turning professional for the 2007–08 season, Neal played with Dallas' American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Stars. In 62 games, he scored 19 assists for 37 points; the next season, 2008–09, he scored his first career NHL goal in his first NHL game on October 10, 2008, against Pascal Leclaire of the Columbus Blue Jackets. His first multi-point NHL game came on November 26, 2008, with a two-goal effort against the Minnesota Wild. Famously, Neal's first NHL fight proved to be a quick victory. On December 18, 2008, he was challenged to a fight by Columbus forward Derick Brassard after Neal checked Blue Jacket Fedor Tyutin hard into the corner of the Columbus defensive zone in the first period. Neal obliged, produced a gash near Brassard's left eye with a powerful right punch. Brassard called the fight off, where it was disclosed that he had dislocated his right shoulder which ended his season.
Five days Neal scored his first NHL hat-trick during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 23, 2008, in an 8–2 win. His early season performance led to a nomination to the YoungStars roster for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal, he broke the Stars' team record for goals scored by a rookie, surpassing Jussi Jokinen's record of 17 goals set in 2005–06, in a 10–2 rout of the New York Rangers on February 6, 2009. He completed the campaign with 37 points. In the Stars' 2009–10 season opener, on October 3, 2009, Neal recorded Dallas' first and second goals of the season against the Nashville Predators, he improved to 55 points in his second NHL season. On September 16, 2010, just prior to the commencement of the 2010–11 season, Neal signed a two-year contract extension with the Stars worth $2.25 million in the first year and $3.5 million in the second. Leading up to the 2011 trade deadline, on February 21, Neal was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenceman Alex Goligoski.
Neal scored his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal on April 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in double overtime to give Pittsburgh a 3–1 series lead. On February 19, 2012, one day after scoring 30 goals for the first time in his career, Neal signed a six-year contract extension with an average annual value of $5 million, he scored his second career hat-trick, first as a Pittsburgh Penguin, in an 8–4 win against the Winnipeg Jets on March 20, 2012. Neal had a break-out season in 2011 -- 12, finishing with 81 points. On May 24, 2013, he scored his first career playoff hat-trick, against the Ottawa Senators. On June 27, 2014, during the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Neal was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Patric Hörnqvist and Nick Spaling, he scored his first goal with the Predators on October 17, 2014, in a 2–0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Neal had an impressive year in 2015–16, scoring 31 goals and 58 points and setting a new Predators franchise single-season record for plus-minus with +27.
In the 2016–17 season, Neal help lead the Predators to the organization's first Stanley Cup Finals appearance. The Predators lost the series four games to two. On June 21, 2017, Neal was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft as the Predators' unprotected player. After attending the Golden Knights' first training camp, Neal secured a top-line role to open the 2017–18 season. On October 6, 2017, he scored twice in
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th
Zdeno Chára is a Slovak professional ice hockey defenceman serving as captain of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. He won the James Norris Memorial Trophy while playing for the Bruins in the 2008–09 season. Chára is the tallest player to play in the National Hockey League standing at 2.057 meters, or 6'9". He is the second European-born and raised captain to win the Stanley Cup, the first born and trained in a country within the Iron Curtain. Chára was drafted in the third round, 56th overall, by the New York Islanders at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, he would spend his first season in North America with the Western Hockey League's Prince George Cougars, who subsequently selected Chára in that year's CHL Import Draft. Chára spent four seasons with the Islanders organization, becoming a reliable, stay-at-home defender in a defensive role, he earned a reputation as a tough player to play against – intimidating, physically strong and a punishing hitter who could, on occasion, fight. His physical strength gave him a hard slap shot, which seemed to improve each season, although Chára was never deployed in an offensive role as an Islander.
Chára was traded to the Ottawa Senators during the 2001 NHL Entry Draft as part of a deal to acquire forward Alexei Yashin. At the time, it was believed the deal would vastly improve the Islanders, who were never a contending team when Chára played there. Chára was part of a package deal that included Bill Muckalt and the second overall pick from that year's draft, which the Senators used to select Jason Spezza; the Senators knew from observation Chára would be a reliable defender, were aware he was growing into his body and improving his skills each year. However, Chára grew in ways. In 2001–02, during his first year in Ottawa, he recorded new career highs in goals and points as he turned into a bona fide two-way defenceman, his powerful slapshot continued to improve, Ottawa began to deploy him on the power play to use it, something the Islanders had done. It resulted in four of Chára's goals being scored with the man advantage that season; the following year, in 2002–03, Chára began to blossom into an elite NHL defenceman.
He posted new career highs with 30 assists and 39 points and became one of Ottawa's top two defenders, along with Wade Redden. He earned his first NHL All-Star Game appearance, where he recorded the second-hardest shot behind Al MacInnis in the Skills Competition. In 2003–04, Chára posted career bests with 16 goals and 41 points, recorded the NHL's third highest plus-minus rating, behind Martin St. Louis and Marek Malík, culminating in his first James Norris Memorial Trophy nomination. Although he lost to Scott Niedermayer as the NHL's top defenceman, he joined Niedermayer on the NHL First All-Star Team. After the 2004–05 NHL lockout, in which Chára played in the Swedish Elitserien for Färjestad BK, he matched his previous NHL season's 16-goal total and tallied a career best 43 points, good enough for NHL Second All-Star Team honors. Following the season, Ottawa was faced with the possible loss of its two top defencemen — Chára and Redden — and finances dictated they could only sign one; as Chára did not come to terms on a new contract with Ottawa, he became an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2005–06.
On 1 July 2006, the first day of the free agency period, Chára signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Boston Bruins and was named the team's captain, a role left vacant since Joe Thornton's departure during the 2005–06 season to San Jose. Chára became only the third Slovak-born NHL player to become a team captain, after Peter Šťastný of the Quebec Nordiques and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks. Chára was named to the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, his second appearance, in Dallas and scored two goals in a 12–9 Eastern Conference loss. Chára won the hardest shot segment of the preceding Skills Competition, clocking a shot at 100.4 mph. While his season was a personal success for many of these reasons, the Bruins were in a rebuilding mode at the time, the signing was questioned throughout the NHL, as Chára posted an uncharacteristic −21 plus-minus rating that season due to the Bruins' struggles. However, his 32 assists were a new career high. In 2007–08, Chára was voted a starter in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, the first time in his career he received such All-Star Game honours.
He repeated as the winner of the hardest shot competition, recording an even-faster 103.1 mph on the radar gun. On 8 March 2008, during a game against the Washington Capitals, Chára suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder. However, after missing five games, he played the remainder of the season, including the 2008 playoffs. Upon a first-round elimination at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, he underwent a shoulder operation on April 29. At the end of the season, Chára received his second nomination for the Norris Trophy after tallying a career-high 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points, marking the fifth-straight season he had either matched or bested his previous season's points total; the Bruins improved tremendously this season, the critics who had questioned the Bruins' signing of Chára the previous season were silenced by his, the team's, improved play. In 2008–09, Chára was named to his fourth All-Star Game; as back-to-back champion of the hardest shot competition, Chára initiated a charity drive among the participants to go to the charity of choice of the competition's winner.
The 2009 installation of the event featured additional intrigue, as three players considered to possess the hardest shots in the NHL (Chára, Sheldon Souray an