Tre Kronor’s new national team captain Sam Hallam would breathe life into a national team that after the double WC gold in 2017 and 2018 had a hard time.
Växjö’s former gold coach, with three SM golds on his track record, also had a fairly comfortable path to Thursday’s quarter-finals. Admittedly, there was a loss in the group final against the USA, but it was also the only setback along the way to the playoffs.
But when it was finished learning things – and it was all about win or lose – in the quarter-final against Latvia in Riga, it became clear that good defending and patience must be mixed with cutting edge going forward if it is to go really well.
Among other things, Sweden had to play in the power play for five minutes without scoring. It’s not okay, and it will be costly even against teams like Latvia.
In the other period, Three Kronor won the shot statistics with 13–1, overall Sweden won the shot statistics with 41–15. Nevertheless, it was Latvia who won the match 3–1.
That says a lot about Swedish inefficiency, while Latvia should of course be praised for its efficiency.
Union captain Hallam’s idea of building the WC team on a framework of players from the European leagues is in many ways a good idea. Players like defender Henrik Tömmernes, for example, show that there are good players even outside of North America.
In order for a World Cup build-up with European players to work, however, there must be a tip from the NHL. This year it was so so. There were a lot of “no thanks” from players, and of the NHL players who came, the majority of them were good hockey players, but they didn’t really add the edge that could lift Tre Kronor in tough situations.
The hope was that Lucas Raymond would step up and do it. In some matches we got to see some of his qualities, other times he disappeared.
Not so strange really considering that he is 21 years old, and maybe not yet quite ready for that role.
The player who had been needed is William Nylander.
Exactly what happened in that story is still shrouded in obscurity. The team management has not even confirmed either that he was asked or said no.
But regardless of where things went wrong, there are things that you have to learn from.
Another player who had also made a difference is of course Elias Pettersson. Insurance claims stopped there.
To saw fthe island captain Sam Hallam after a WC tournament is too early. He needs to get more time. However, lessons must be learned, and the contact with the NHL players analyzed.
For next year, Sweden must make it to the World Cup semi-finals. That’s how crazy it is.
It doesn’t matter that we have great success on the junior side, or that a lot of young Swedish players go high in the NHL draft.
When Tre Kronor is not playing for World Cup medals, the window to attention quickly closes, and the role of popular national team can disappear just as quickly.
Tags: Malin Fransson Tre Kronor risks losing role popular national team-