Concerns about injury have led Frans Nielsen's NHL club to refuse him permission to play in this month's hockey world cup
The Danish national hockey team will most likely be without NHL forward Frans Nielsen when it takes the ice in this month's World Championships after Nielsen's team, the New York Islanders, refused to release him to play.
Nielsen has been a fixture for the Islanders since January and has scored more points in the NHL than any other Dane, with 33 points on nine goals and 24 assists.
The decision comes even though the Islanders finished last in the NHL's Eastern Conference and are not participating in the playoffs.
'I don't understand the decision at all,' Kim Pedersen, the national team's general manager told Berlingske Tidende newspaper. 'But their answer is 'no' and it's the Islanders that pay his salary.'
According to Pedersen, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow cited Nielsen's knee and ankle injuries as the reason.
Pedersen said he still hoped to convince the Islanders to allow Nielsen to play, but added he wasn't holding out much hope for success.
Denmark has three other NHL players on its national squad: Mikkel Bødker, Jannik Hansen and Peter Regin. But the team will be facing others whose entire first squads consist of NHL players, including the Czech Republic, which is Denmark's opening tournament opponent on 25 April.
At the close of 2008, Denmark was ranked 13th by the International Ice Hockey Federation>>