It is the last day of 2020, and this utter hellscape of a year is finally, nearly, almost over. I’m not sure if 2021 will be any better, but it will not be 2020, so I’m willing to roll the dice on that one*.

In just under two weeks, we’ll have Maple Leafs hockey, but until then we’ve got World Juniors. According to Donna Spencer in the Canadian Press, they’re using a form of “wearable tech” to track the kids as they move around the tournament bubble in case contact tracing is needed, which is a) cool and b) reminds me uncomfortably of the wireless dog collar a friend of mine bought to make sure her poodle doesn’t run directly into a pond.

In on-ice news from Alberta, last night Maple Leafs prospects Rodion Amirov and Mikhail Abramov were in the lineup in Team Russia’s overtime win vs Sweden. After scoring a power-play goal, Amirov promptly continued on his quest to make Leafs fans fall in love with him before we even see him wearing blue and white:

Kid’s gonna fit in just fine.

He ended the game with a goal and two assists, one of which was on the game-winner in overtime, and was named player of the game. For his part, Abramov picked up the primary assist on Russia’s first goal. Sweden, who haven’t lost in the preliminary round at World Juniors since Rodion Amirov was five years old, had to watch their 54-game win streak come to an end.

*Please do not hold me responsible for the alien invasion/asteroid impact/zombie virus that this sentence has almost certainly spoken into being.


AHL season set to start on February 5 - PPP
All of the details are yet to be revealed.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Finnish Leafs prospects on improving their game and facing Canada - Video - TSN
Maple Leafs prospects Mikko Kokkonen, Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela spoke with TSN about the improvements they've made this season, the message they’ve received from Toronto’s player development department and how Team Finland matches up against Canada ahead of their New Year’s Eve showdown at the World Juniors.

Boston bids the captain farewell as Chara departs after 14 seasons with Bruins
After more than 1,000 games with the Boston Bruins spanning the course of 14 seasons, former captain Zdeno Chara announced Wednesday that he will not be returning to the club in 2021.

Report: There was mutual interest in Zdeno Chara joining the Canadiens - Eyes On The Prize
In Bergevin’s summer of adding size, he just about landed the biggest fish of all.

Eichel draws on NFL Bills’ success to motivate NHL Sabres | The Star
Jack Eichel doesn’t have to search far back or long to see what it’s like to win in Buffalo.

Coyotes sign veteran forward Brassard to 1-year deal | The Star
The Arizona Coyotes have signed veteran forward Derick Brassard to a one-year contract.

Maple Leafs Training Camp Preview: Can Robertson make the cut?
When training camp opens in January, the intrigue around this Cup-dreaming Toronto Maple Leafs group will be as heavy as the collective disappointment and hope they’ll carry into this sprint of a 2020-21 campaign.

Derek Stepan is “Super-Excited” to Be An Ottawa Senator - Full Press Coverage
Derek Stepan read the trade rumours last week, but as they started to build steam, he was still somewhat surprised to receive a call that he was officially leaving Arizona Saturday evening.

Does Justin Faulk need to prove himself to anyone? - St. Louis Game Time
The former All-Star defenseman did not have a stellar first season with the Blues.

Former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan calls it a career - Blueshirt Banter
So long, Captain Cally.

Untold Joe Thornton stories: What the Maple Leafs can expect – The Athletic
Who is the real Joe Thornton? Former teammates, coaches, and staff members dish on what the Maple Leafs can expect from the NHL legend.