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From the Branches: Team Sweden needs some help

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The latest news in the saga of the 2021 World Juniors involves Sweden’s coaching staff.

Sweden v Canada: Semifinal - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship
Tomas Montén, one of the four Swedish coaches to test positive for covid-19.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

As World Juniors draws closer, the situation around it seems to only grow more farcical. The latest announcement has to do with Team Sweden’s coaching staff, who apparently have posted an 80% COVID-19 positivity rate:

They’re bringing in a backup coach because there’s only one guy on the coaching staff who doesn’t have COVID-19. I am not a mathematician—I leave that to Arvind, and other people who aren’t clinically allergic to numbers—but this seems suboptimal! It’s not limited to coaches, either; at least four players on the Swedish team have also tested positive, which, as they apparently all took a long bus ride together from Stockholm to the training camp site, should be a shock to absolutely no one.

It’s not just Sweden. Quite a few players from other countries (including Germany, Canada, and the USA) have also tested positive and have been dropped from rosters in advance of the tournament, and Canada only recently emerged from a two-week team quarantine after two players tested positive. It’s all well and good to tout plans for a bubble during the tournament, but if individual teams are going to have their own outbreaks seeded by recklessness before they even get to Alberta, should this tournament be happening at all?

ICYMI

Maple Leafs loan Kalle Kossila to the DEL - PPP
The Marlies player has been injured for most of 2020.

Axel Rindell and Mikko Kokkonen: what’s the difference? - PPP
Is one Finnish defenceman that different from another?

The East has Alexis Lafreniere, and what else? - PPP
Is the likely East division ready to contest for the cup or are they after draft picks?

AHL divisions will have to realign to have a season - PPP
The very few Canadian AHL teams will play each other over and over and over again.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Phil Myers contract: Could the Philadelphia Flyers have gone long term? - Broad Street Hockey
It’d have been intriguing to lock down the talented young blueliner long-term, but there isn’t much precedent for players with Myers’ track record getting long deals.

Building a Better Broadcast - Mile High Hockey
The NHL should make for great television, but it historically has not. Here are some changes that could improve the production for all

NHL Team Values 2020: Hockey’s First Decline In Two Decades - Forbes
The NHL elite are holding strong thanks to local TV deals, but the rest of hockey remains stuck in the penalty box

Maple Leafs draft pick Rodion Amirov ‘can be a future star’ – The Athletic
To those who know him, Maple Leafs first-round pick Rodion Amirov is a tantalizing talent with an uncertain future beyond this season.

Hard to say what this coming NHL season will look like exactly | National Post
Get your asterisks ready again.

Luongo to oversee Panthers’ new goaltending excellence department
Roberto Luongo will oversee a new goaltending excellence department established by the Florida Panthers.

Okay, about that last link. Can we talk about how amazing “goaltending excellence department” is as a job title?

Credit to Species, who made me choke on last night’s glass of pinot grigio.

Enjoy your Thursday, everyone.