So the World Junior Championship that’s supposed to start soon in Alberta has had a... rocky start. First, Team Canada’s camp had to shut down for two weeks due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Then, there were the numerous outbreaks among literally every other national roster. Then, there was the weird saga of Sweden’s coaches having to stay home and them scrambling to see if Daniel Alfredsson or others in North America could fill in — they eventually went with the Oilers video coach as a replacement.
Over the weekend, all of the European teams were to make their flights to Alberta to start their quarantine ahead of the tournament. I don’t know about everyone else, but MY assumption would have been that each country’s teams would have their own flight. And that each flight would be spacious enough to not worry about causing any more breakouts, even if they were all tested before.
Well... that’s not how it turned out.
Sounds like the IIHF plan was to have social distancing in place on the plane, but the charter company wants to be able seat the players closer together to accommodate for the excess baggage. “All teams are waiting and there is no solution.”— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 13, 2020
Situation developing in Finland regarding the plane due to bring Finland, Sweden and Russia to the WJC (which seems like a bad idea anyway). Apparently there is not enough room in the cargohold for all of the equipment. https://t.co/xvRI5bgJXE— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 13, 2020
So another detail I saw but can’t find now, is that the flights had to make two stopovers to refuel: one in Iceland, one in Greenland. So these were very long flights that looked very crammed. At least the respective players turned it into a bit of a bonding experience between their nations:
Refueling in Keflavik, Iceland. Not allierad to leave the aircraft, the Russian and Swedish team conduct a folksong battle. This flight is long, crowded and there is no in flight entertainment...or...wait a minute... #iihfworldjuniors pic.twitter.com/5PayhPxl36— Marie Lehmann (@svtlehmann) December 13, 2020
PPP’s insider sources were told by an anonymous source that upon landing in Greenland for fuel, the teams learned that the gas truck had been stolen and taken into a labyrinth by a horde of Minotaurs. Each country underwent a series of quests to obtain magical weapons and armor from the Gods, so they could battle through the labyrinth and slay the Minotaurs in order to refuel their plane to finish the journey. I’m pretty sure some dude named Homer wrote about it in a 10,000 tweet thread.
It was a wild ride to follow on Sunday, and in the end it led to this fantastic meme.
https://t.co/ffBvflWh8K pic.twitter.com/K9fQWrSbQ2— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) December 13, 2020
ONTO THE LINKS
Dangle’s Prospect Pyramid series has been fun for the memes (Robertson the RHD still makes the rounds), but this year he went all out. He consulted Rachel Doerrie, Scott Wheeler and Lauren Kelly — all three are pretty great and respected prospect folk. Definitely worth watching this one.
Why Frederik Andersen is Maple Leafs’ greatest X-Factor | by Luke Fox at Sportsnet
Nick Robertson is the Leafs top prospect | by TLN
Speaking of Nick Robertson... USA GM Vanbiesbrouck respects ‘hockey decision’ by Leafs not to loan Robertson | by TSN.ca, with an added quote: ”This was a hockey decision by the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said general manager John Vanbiesbrouck. I have to admit, this decision still puzzles me.
Speaking of the WJC... Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Mikko Kokkonen, who will be participating in the upcoming tournament, was named assistant captain.
Sounds like Mikko Kokkonen (TOR) and Santeri Hatakka (SJS), who were meant to the assistants in November, will be two of the assistants for Finland.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 13, 2020
AROUND THE HOCKEY WORLD
Asmae Toumi’s Cure for What Ails Hockey Analytics | by Bill West
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kasperi Kapanen scores West Palm Beach home | If you want to compare it to the McDavid horror show.
Braden Holtby is such an awesome guy that he apologized before I could even finish my article about his mask controversy.— Daniel Wagner (@passittobulis) December 13, 2020
Why was it a controversy? I spoke to several Indigenous artists about the mask and the issues of appropriation. #Canucks https://t.co/aPvxTRIhX5
👋🏼 Thank you and goodbye!— Hockey Club Davos (@HCDavos_off) December 14, 2020
Der Start in die @NHL-Saison rückt näher, Big Joe bekam gestern Abend den "Marschbefehl" der @MapleLeafs und verlässt in den nächsten Stunden die 🇨🇭 Richtung 🇨🇦.
Uns bleibt nur THANK YOU zu sagen für die gemeinsame unglaubliche Zeit. Für immer💙💛!#HCD pic.twitter.com/i5IX0oa6BR
The start of the @NHL -Season is approaching, Big Joe got the “marching orders” of the last night @MapleLeafs and leaves the direction in the next few hours. We only have to say THANK YOU for the incredible time we spent together. Forever