Here are some of the stories around hockey that caught our attention this past weekend:
- Despite a situation in Alberta that can best be described as a nightmare when it comes to COVID-19, it seems as if the World Junior Championships are still on track to go ahead at the end of the month. The final roster are available here.
- It was announced early this morning that Sens prospect Lassi Thomson is making his way to North America. Through 18 games with Ilves in the Finnish League, the right handed pivot recorded a pair of assists.
- The Sens will obviously be well represented at the tournament. Craig Button shared some of his thoughts on the prospects with Bruce Garrioch this weekend, in which he was fairly effusive in his praise.
- In other Sens-related writing, Hailey Salvian answered some readers’ questions in a mailbag on Friday over at the Athletic. Some good tidbits in there, but I was maybe most interested by her thoughts on Logan Brown:
My crystal ball says he is going to be a member of the Senators in 2021. I think Brown has shown that he is an incredibly skilled centre, and sometimes people lose sight of that and focus instead on the timeline or his injuries. It’s OK to be patient with a prospect. Obviously, the expectation is different for an 11th overall pick, but everybody has different development paths and timelines to the NHL.
I tend to agree with that assessment; it would be a mistake to walk away from someone as skilled as Brown, but it’s also true that he’ll be in a hotly-contested battle to win a roster spot out of training camp. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say he needs to make the team this year if he wants to stay with the organization.
- In sad news, Pierre Lacroix, the former GM of the Colorado Avalanche, passed away on the weekend. Lacroix, who was also once a player agent, will be best remembered as someone who was willing to wheel and deal to give his teams the best chance at winning the Stanley Cup every year.
- Bill West has been publishing a series of profiles of some of the most influential people in the hockey stats community this off-season. On Sunday, he had a great piece about Asmae Toumi and I strongly recommend all the others in the series (including one about our own BT!). Bill was the Pens beat writer in 2016 and 2017, and I have a lot of respect for the way he writes about the game.
- Lastly, Michael Russo has a lengthy piece on Mark Parrish’s struggles with substance abuse. There are some uncomfortable moments but I think it’s a necessary read; in spite of the recent number of high profile pieces about substance in the NHL, there’s still a much bigger problem than anyone is willing to let on.