Frölunda came home to Gothenburg to host Dynamo Pardubice in their third Champions Hockey League game. Pardubice is a Czech league team coached by Peter Draisaitl, father of Leon and possessor of a really colourful English vocabulary.
One of the features of CHL games this year is live mics on the coaches. Usually Roger Rönnberg, Frölunda's coach, is very calm, speaks almost entirely in Swedish, seemingly leaving it to one of his assistants to give English instructions to any who need it, and while he isn't shy to tell his team when they are terrible, and they were for large parts of their first two games, he's more likely to say, "The shots on goal are 4-0, so let me get the whiteboard out and remind you of which end of the rink you're aiming for."
Draisaitl, on the other hand, whose team had fallen to 0-2 a few minutes in, is fully willing to go to the English when he wants everyone to hear. "This isn't fucking holiday on ice. Get the fucking puck and drive the net. We have four fucking shots on goal, what the fuck are you doing out there?" is mostly how I remember his most memorable speech. I know I got the one word right, anyway.
Frölunda played a much better game today, absolutely dominating the Czech team in the first period in front of a small crowd at home. After going up 2-0, Carl Grundström showed he can put it in the net.
That goal ended up the game winner, as Frölunda slacked off in the second period for a few minutes, allowed two goals against and then tightened up to carry on into the third adding another goal and then sealing it with an empty-netter in the last seconds of play to make the score 5-2 Frölunda.
Lest you think Grundström isn't allowed on the ice anymore when the opposing goalie is pulled, he had the first assist on the empty-netter, wisely passing the puck up to Kristian Vesalainen who took off, undeterred by backchecking Pardubice players, and put it in, no problem.
The Pardubice side didn't like that fifth goal, so they went after Vesalainen with the usual pushing and shoving. Grundström, who isn't really all that large a guy for all he plays a big game, was right in there, standing off the guys who were going after a player so young he still has to wear a full cage.
That's who Grundström is. He's everything everyone thinks they mean when they talk about sandpaper and grit and grind. Only he really is a good hockey player who is fast, can score, can handle the puck, and he will finish his checks, and he will go into the corners or crash the net. He just always will.
It absolutely remains to be seen if he's got the game for the NHL. But he plays like he thinks he does, and that really is a necessary ingredient to success.
His two points today made him the top scorer on the day, but the CHL still isn't sure what he looks like: