Finland is leading Russia 1-0 late in the second period of the World Championships semifinal, a lead built thanks to 19-year-old Mikael Granlund's sick highlight reel lacrosse goal.
Behind the net, Granlund sped away from two Russian defenders, scooped the puck onto his blade like there was glue and stuffed it in just under the bar with a backhand.
Regarding the question I get most frequently these days, nothing's changed since the last article I wrote on Granlund about two weeks ago (excerpt below). After the World Championships, GM Chuck Fletcher plans to talk to Granlund and his representatives to determine whether or not he wants to come and try playing in North America next season. It will largely be up to him.
"He just works so bloody hard,” Fletcher said of Granlund, 19, who co-led HIFK and the league in playoff scoring with 16 points. “He’s so skilled, but his unselfishness and the way he bought into the team concept and the way he checks, frankly, is what excites me. Usually it takes these talented kids two to three years to learn how to play away from the puck."
Fletcher didn’t bother Granlund after the game. He just snuck in and out.
"They were jumping around. It was a real big moment for him, so it wasn’t really my place," Fletcher said. "I just wanted to let him enjoy."
But Fletcher plans a follow-up phone call to Granlund and his agent soon to “map out a plan that makes sense.”
“We’re in no rush to bring him over here, but ultimately, it’s what he feels he needs,” Fletcher said. “I have no doubt he’ll be a real good player, but he’s going to have a huge say in the process. If he wants to stay [in Finland], that’s what we’ll support. If he wants to try and come over [to North America], that’s great, too.”