Jhonas Enroth opened his email Tuesday morning with the notice he’d been waiting for – his official selection to the Swedish national team for next month’s Olympic Games.
It turned out to be the highlight of the day which saw his scheduled start against the Carolina Hurricanes postponed by a blizzard.
Interim coach Ted Nolan said Enroth would get his start tonight when the Sabres host the Florida Panthers at First Niagara Center.
Enroth continues to be motivated by the Olympic roster spot.
“It’s something you’ve been thinking about pretty much every day the whole year,” Enroth said of the Winter Games. “It’s motivation and it’s going to be a great experience.”
While Enroth earned his spot in large part because of his play for Team Sweden at last year’s World Championships, his position was helped when Anaheim goalie Viktor Fasth suffered a lower body injury in late November.
“When Fasth in Anaheim went down I started to feel a little more comfortable,” Enroth said. “I knew I would have a pretty good chance. I wasn’t too nervous.”
Last spring, Enroth helped Team Sweden to the World Championship gold medal, playing for national team coach Par Marts. Marts is familiar with Enroth’s game and his most recent performance on the international stage certainly helped his status.
“I think it helped me a lot,” Enroth said. “Obviously the coach trusts me still. I’ve had that coach for a couple of years so we know each other pretty well. Winning the gold there last year definitely helped me.”
In seven games for Team Sweden at last spring’s World Championships, Enroth went 6-1-0 with two shutouts and eight goals against.
However, his record hasn’t been as impressive for the Sabres this season. In 13 games, Enroth is 1-8-3 with 2.60 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
“I think pretty much the whole season I’ve been playing fine except for maybe one game against Anaheim,” said Enroth, who gave up six goals to the Ducks on Nov. 2.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Ryan Miller, who was named to Team USA last week. “He stepped up and played well for his country last year and it’s good that they get him back in the mix for the Olympics. I think he’s been playing good hockey here. … I thought he’s had some really nice outings. He just hasn’t had the good fortune of getting many wins to show for it. But he’s been solid every time. I think he’ll be great for his team when called upon over there.”