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2022 Winter Olympics

Capitals’ Eller Thrilled For Denmark In Olympics, Ready To See Game Grow



Capitals center Lars Eller

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals center Lars Eller may not be competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics, but he has been invested in his home nation of Denmark’s performance in Beijing. And so far, he couldn’t be happier.

Eller said he got up early on Tuesday and tuned in for the final two periods of Denmark’s Olympic debut. He watched as his country made history with its first victory in its first men’s Olympic game, a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic. Markus Lauridsen and Frans Nielsen struck for the Danes, while Sebastian Dahm shut the door with a dominant performance in net.

“Pretty cool. Very very happy for those guys. I’m sure they had a good time in the locker room after,” Eller said.

The 32-year-old grew up in Rødovre, Denmark. He spent most of his time at the ice rink as his father, Olaf, played and coached. His younger brother, Mads, and his half-brother, Michael Smidt, also played.

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With the national team winning, Eller said it’s a huge step forward for his country and hopes it serves as a catalyst for the continued growth of the game back home.

“Well, I hope it means in the big picture that, you know, you get a win or you get maybe even another win, that it builds some excitement around the sport. And eventually, you know, the end product to get more players playing and hopefully more players in the NHL,” Eller said.

Eller is one of six active Danish NHL players. In 2018, he became the first Danish-born player to hoist the Stanley Cup after scoring the series-clinching goal for the Capitals in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. And this season, he moved up to second in points among all-time Danish NHL players.

Going forward, he wants to see Denmark make more strides — and more history — in the sport.

“You need more players, you need more rinks, you need all of that,” Eller said with regard to how to grow the game of hockey. “In the end, I think the best way to get people excited about it is through the national team. So I’m very happy. Really good for Danish hockey what happened today.”

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