Forsberg in Helsinki

31.10.2007

The news is out on TSN.ca. There is a favourite for the upcoming Karjala cup. Foppa will lace his skate over his reconstructed ankle and come over the bay to line up with the Tre Kronor.

Tickets can be bought here if you are interested and have enough booing air stocked up in your lungs.

Forsberg is once again in a reflexion mode whether or not he will sign with the Wings, or the Ducks or the Avs or wherever. It probably is a legitimate process, his injury is/was serious, no doubt, but it makes one wonder. The man has a history of coming back when it counts. Or said differently, has a history of avoiding to be alongside his teammates for the long-haul work, showing up only when its time to shine and collect the glories.

Back in 2001, he opted to sit the year. The Avalanche having a solid enough squad to cruise to the playoffs with 41 year-old Ray Bourque lacing ’em up for 80 games, he opted to stay sidelined in Sweden, taking it easy and “healing” correctly while the rest of the boys did the dirty work. He showed up for the playoffs, all well and rested, Patrick Roy led them once again to Glory and he gets an extra ring on his fingers. Not too bad for a 20 games effort.

For last year’s Olympics, he was in a questionable condition during all the qualification round. Leaving his team to be flogged 4-0 by Ovechkin and the Russians, before coming back all glorious in the medal round. Other teams worked their asses off throughout all the tournament. One team I won’t name humiliated Canada and lost a good amount of teeth on the way to a perfect sheet before showing up undefeated but rightly so tired in the Finals.

So now, Peter is sitting out again this NHL season. Scanning which team has a shot at the cup while his Crocs sandals operation (who the fuck buys those, anyway?) compensates for his regular NHL salary. But at least he will grace Finnish ice for a quick round. A word to the Shedden Boys (or is it the Jalonen Boys already?) : “Make it a though one!”

Tappara beat Ilves yesterday to catch up with them in the rankings. Anssi Salmela scored the weekest goal given by a keeper I have ever seen in Pro Hockey, Tommy Salo included. Here you can see Tero Leinonen’s failure in all its splendor. I also really liked the little dangle by Saviano that led to good old Janne Ojanen saying “Hey kid, cut the crap” and bury it the old fashioned way past Leinonen.

So here we stand with both Tampere teams with their heads above water. Good times ahead!

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HIFK Q&A today

22.10.2007

Today is HIFK Q&A-session with official fan club and almost all keymen in HIFK. The meeting is only for the members (actually 25 of them) and probably that newsman who will take a cute photograph with the smiling club. Hopefully there will be real questions with real answers and not the general chitchat. Some questions (mostly in finnish) are in the Jatkoaika’s thread but like someone there wrote are there anyone who has the guts to really question Matikainen and his actions with the club?

Before Matikainen took charge there have been only one bronze and if I remember correctly about 12 coaches. Only Shedden has been succesful but now he’s at Ilmala with Harkimo and Kummola. Hannu Aravirta might have had the abilities to get HIFK back to top but he was sacked in the playoffs.

Next home game against SaiPa is a must-win. Before that HIFK only won Tappara and got one point from TPS. Previous game against Jokerit wasn’t that bad so maybe there’s hope.


Pentti Ulos!

19.10.2007


Can’t find a better picture than this, unfortunately, but it seems the natives are getting restless down at Helsingin Jäähalli. Mika will be better able to explain this, but it seems like Pentti Mattikainen’s days are numbered.


Meltdown!

19.10.2007

High octane fratricide matchup yesterday at Hakametsä. I sadly didn’t get to attend but can still comment, that’s what we’re here for!

You get the highlights of the game here. Aamulehti apparently has got a contest out to find the least interesting person to lead off their highlights segment. They certainly have found a good contender for the title, Yrjö Kares might have been dead a while. I would suggest someone check his pulse.

The festivities started off with Marko Anttila getting a 5 + 20 min kneeing penalty. Hard time in the slammer. It is hard to find the footage of this but we, at HIF, have gotten exclusive coverage of the incident that you can find here. Tough call by the referee, because if we believe the tape, Anttila has a hard time bending his own knees in the first place (and Peltola badly needs a shave).

The play that led to Lehterä’s goal was a superb effort from Jonas Enlund. with all the kindness in the world, he took time to put down Lehtivuori, tuck him in, sing him a lullaby, kiss him on the forehead, lie down next to him to pet his head a little and relay the puck to his linemate for the kill. Great play!

But Tappara had to tank it. They blew a 4-2 lead entirely in the 3rd to lose the 1 point they could have been salvaging with 5 seconds to go. Two penalties for dumping the puck over the glass handed in the last two minutes resulted in a two man advantage for Ilves. A real game killer and a real sign of panic from the defending team. One of the penalties was handed out to André Benoit, so all Tappara fans can now sign along: Blame Canada!

I have got to point out though that my fellow country man is now the most used player on the Tappara squad with 22:05 minutes of ice time a game on average and the best +/- stats on the team at 6. He stands nicely as the 5th highest scoring defenseman in the SM-Liiga, so if he drops the ball once in a while he can maybe be forgiven.

The rankings are still very tight in the middle, but with this win, Ilves has elevated its head above the Tropic of Cancer, passing Tappara for 5th. Hopefully both Tampere teams can remain in that pack, so that we get interesting post season battles this year. This remains to be seen!


Oh and peace broke out in the world

12.10.2007

Helsingin Sanomat brings news (in Finnish) of cats and dogs living together – or, as they put it, of Jokerit supporters and the Hämeenlinna hockey arena settling their row.

It got started during last season’s playoffs when a group of Jokerit supporters, displeased with the seating arrangements, took out their displeasure on the seats. The Rinkelinmäki folks responded by banning said fans and a few extra besides from the arena until they cough up 5’000 euros.

Now JF-Club, a Jokerit fan club, has agreed to pay for a portion of the damages, although the figure is well short of the demanded sum. Rinkelinmäki, for its part, will once again be open even to Jokerit supporters.

And they didn’t even need Martti Ahtisaari to mediate.


Ilves 3 JYP 1

11.10.2007

JYP really aren’t doing very well at the moment. They don’t seem able t hit a rhythmn, and after conceding early goals they were always chasing their tails. Once again Marko Antilla had a decent game and he was unlucky not to score, Dwight Helminen got into a few tussles, Sinuhe Wallinheimo bawled out Jarkko Immonen for an unnecessary penalty in the first period and the Ilves cheerleaders have a routine for Finland’s national anthem.

The Pharoah is obviously JYP’s leader. It’s funny to see a goaltender shouting louder than the rest of them team (and most of the crowd) but that’s what Wallinheimo does. He used to be suspected of dislodging the goalposts a little too often, but he’s now made his peace with the referees and is a very good keeper. I certainly wouldn’t want to piss him off.


Lahti Rules!?

11.10.2007

The Lahti Pelicans are garnering a lot of attention these days with their stellar season start. They came out of the gate swinging high this year and finally, The Chicago of Finland team stopped shadowing the results of their sister city’s Blackhawks and put up the results the City desperately needs.

It is still early in the season, the wind could start blowing in any other direction any game now, but they are worth mentioning at this stage, in this blog, as well as on Nhl.com it seems. The NHL has vowed to increase its presence in Europe and they are doing so by showcasing a feature called Across the Pond on their website’s main page. You don’t learn much more there than you would by surfing the hockeydb.com site or deciphering sm-liiga.fi with very low Finnish comprehension but hockey instincts on and odds are M. Meltzer wrote that column from the comfort of his West Chester, PA, home, far away from Vesijärvi (what an original name!). Then again, you don’t learn much more on this blog than you would googling for barnyard pornography, so M. Meltzer, hats off to you, nice to see that someone is paying attention, shedding some light on this country as the sun is withdrawing on us, a little further day by day. One question though, why is your one website coattail riding on Mikael Renberg’s fame?

One NHL/SM-Liiga related mystery that remains unsolved to me – and most others who have nothing better to do – is the brief stint of Sean Avery in Lahti. During the lockout, he lined up with the Pelicans for 2 games, 3 goals scored, these are the recorded facts. It would make you believe the man was here for a walk in the park and would have stayed around to boost his rather low stocks (at the moment) anchoring the low expectations Pelicans attack and adding a few scraps with the SM-Liiga’s best and brightest, namely Shelley and Westcott with Jyp and that Ogre, Pauli Levokari then with Ässät (here is some rare footage of Levokari playing with his son).

But after these two outings, the man disappeared, left without a trace. Breach of contract, never to be seen again. He resurfaced a while later in the USHL but in the meantime, the portrait is shady. Uninformed sources rumour that he has mingled with the wrong crowd, Laotians posing as Thaï masseuses, Kazakh mobsters or long-legged Karelians from the wrong side of the border, who carry lipstick and shaving cream in their hand purse.

Chances are he simply couldn’t bear the prospect of a winter in Lahti. I spent, sorry sacrified, 2 of my winters to this god forsaken town and if I had had his options, believe me, I would have fled like Frank Morris. But I would like to have some light shone on this episode. If anyone has more info, please enlighten us (as well as our 3 readers). Please!