On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning signed 2020 second round pick, Gage Goncalves, to a three-year, entry-level contract. Goncalves was cut from Team Canada’ World Juniors camp roster over the weekend so this was a nice gesture to soften the blow of missing out on the premier junior men’s hockey tournament. The center plays in the WHL, on the US-based Everett Silvertips. The league is expected to begin their season this February but nothing is yet to be confirmed. [NHL dot com]
“Goncalves, 19, skated in 60 games for the Everett Silvertips during the 2019-20 regular season, recording 33 goals and 71 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes and a +32 rating. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound forward ranked second on the Silvertips for goals and was third for points last season. Goncalves also ranked tied for fifth in the WHL last season with 14 power-play goals and was tied for 11th for even-strength goals. He set career highs for goals, assists (38) and points during the 2019-20 campaign.”
In other prospect news, 2020 sixth round pick Nick Capone scored his first NCAA goal in the fourth game of his rookie year. Quite impressive hand-eye skills to get it in.
Nick Capone bats the puck out of mid-air into the net for his first career NCAA goal! pic.twitter.com/HgQBG9ZokW— Future Bolts (@LightningProsp1) December 12, 2020
He also ran an opponent away from the puck with a high hit. Forgive my general dislike of hits like that.
Meanwhile in the NCAA...
Meanwhile at UMass Lowell... pic.twitter.com/8lC1QAbT3W— D.F. Pendrys - BLM (@dfpendrys) December 13, 2020
In World Juniors news, Hugo Alnefelt was officially listed on the Swedish team’s roster. He joins Maxim Groshev, who will play for Russia. You are probably well-aware of the story around Maxim Cajkovic, who was in line to make Team Slovakia, but was kicked off the team for injuring his teammate on the ice. As a result, there are only two teams to watch out for as Bolts fans: Russia and Sweden.
The final Russian junior national team roster for the 2021 World Junior Championship in Canada has been revealed!— Russia Hockey (@russiahockey_en) December 12, 2020
Click on the following link to find out who the management group selected for the tournament: https://t.co/Y1VpvB3h2k #RussiaHockey pic.twitter.com/8EMBDUd2PH
In other WJC news, it’s been a mess for the European teams to make it across the pond. The IIHF arranged three charter planes for the eight teams flying over. But once things started unfolding, the problems arose.
First, the planes were too small to hold all the cargo. That resulted in arguments over whether to squish the players more, breaking team social distancing. That argument was resolved when the IIHF decided to hire a cargo plane to take the equipment separately after the players arrived.
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
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
Looks like Finland, Russia and Sweden are loaded onto the plane.— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) December 13, 2020
Reportedly, the IIHF will arrange for a cargo plane to pick up luggage and stuff that was originally planned for the cabin. What a weird mess. #WJC https://t.co/0JEpRmUCcz
Next issue was the fact that the planes needed to refuel in Iceland. Everyone on board had to stay put, and without any onboard entertainment, teams from Russia and Sweden decided to have a folk singing battle. The horror! That plane has since landed in Canada, with just a six hour drive from Goose Bay to Edmonton to make to get there.
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
Goose Bay!— Marie Lehmann (@svtlehmann) December 14, 2020
We’re in Canada! Its dark and cold outside.
The truck gave the destination away! By no means a European truck :).
Last refuel before Edmonton.
24hrs done, six left.
No singing at this point. I give you a video of a truck @russiahockey_en @Trekronorse @leijonat pic.twitter.com/Xp4e7G4GaH
And a final comment on the event itself, now that compromises are being made.
The World Junior travel fiasco eliminates any illusion that no expense was too great in the name of health and safety. The players and staff are assuming the majority of risk to make this happen.— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 13, 2020