Friday, 31 August 2018

Lots Of Notice For This Change

Former NHL winger John Garpenlov, seen on the right in the image as one of Sweden's assistant coaches at the World Cup of Hockey, is getting a bump to the big stage as he will assume the head coaching duties of Sweden's national men's hockey team. The only catch? No one has resigned or been fired yet. It was announced today that current head coach of the Tre Kronor, Rickard Grönborg, will step down following the conclusion of the 2019 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship in May, and replacing him at that time will be assistant coach Johan Garpenlov. I'm not sure why the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation needed to make this announcement now, but it's now out there in the public domain.

The former Red Wings, Sharks, Panthers, and Thrashers winger was a somewhat productive NHL player, scoring 114 goals and 311 points in 609 NHL games. His most productive season came in 1992-93 with the San Jose Sharks when he potted 22 goals and 66 points as a 24 year-old, and followed that season up with another productive 53-point campaign as the left winger to two-thirds of the KLM line with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov.

Garpenlov would be traded to the Florida Panthers in March 1995, being a major part of the Florida Panthers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996 as a solid checking forward who could add a goal or two while cracking the 50-point barrier once again in the regular season with 51 points. Garpenlov wouldn't find the same success for the remainder of his career as he did in that four-year span in the NHL, and he'd retire from professional hockey after playing a season with Djurgardens IF Stockholm in the SEL after 2000-01.

Garpenlov will enter his third-straight season as an assistant coach in Grönborg's staff this year, and he helped Sweden win back-to-back gold medals at the World Championships over the last two seasons. Grönborg, to his credit, is looking to pursue an NHL coaching job after the World Championships in May, and I'd say he has a pretty solid resume built based on his last two gold medals with a possibility of a three-peat at this competition in May 2019.

While Garpenlov has never actually led a team as a head coach, he's certainly been learning under one of Sweden's best. Combined with his NHL experiences and his current coaching experiences, I don't think Sweden will see any drop-off in their national team's performance on the ice after May 2019 with Garpenlov at the helm.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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