Kärpät – Jokerit 27.9.08

27.9.2008

Kärpät 6-0 Jokerit (3-0)(2-0)(1-0)

End of the first period and Kärpät have a lead that slightly flatters them. Daneil Corso opened the scoring when left completely free in front of goal during a power play. The second came from Oskari Korpikari’s lashed shot from range with Kuusela and a defender masking Hallikainen, and Jonas Andersson added the third, surprising Hallikainen with a sharp turn. A noticeable difference in approach to taking goal chances: Jokerit are very much shoot on sight whereas Kärpät wait to create a good opening. An assured performance so far from Petri Koivisto in the home net, saving sharply a couple of times and even dummying Mike Bishai in front of his own net.

Forty minutes gone and Kärpät are over the hill and away. Jokerit started the second period still in the dressing room and early goals from Toni Koivisto and Kristian Kuusela killed off any realistic prospects of a Jokerit recovery. Not that that dissuaded them from trying. Kärpät’s reaction to the extended lead was to sit on it, and the visitors were not slow to take advantage. Clearly in the ascendancy during most of this period, they created a string of chances which were met by Petri Koivisto’s continued sharpness. His team mates in front of him were a different story, and matters reached a state such that Matti Alatalo felt compelled to call a time out in order to read the riot act afer 15 minutes. The final 5 minutes saw Kärpät reach parity in the play.

At the final whistle Kärpät have a victory that they can never beforehand have dreamed would be so comfortable. Juho Keränen added the sixth immediately at the start of the period. Journeyman Pasi Nielikäinen made his usual contribution to the proceedings by stacking up the penalty minutes, firstly and secondly being years behind everyone else in his comprehension of what is acceptable when tackling from behind, and thirdly not knowing when it’s time to keep his mouth shut. A calm, level-headed and ruthless performance from the champions, and one to quieten further those who were calling for Matti Alatalo’s head just a few games back.

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Mestis 26.9.2008

26.9.2008

A full round of matches tonight saw the league’s early pace setters, KooKoo, maintain their 100% record with a narrow victory in Heinola, the first chain of Matti Huilla (0+2), Lou Dickenson (2+1) and Michael Ramsay (1+2) being responsible for most of the destruction of HeKi’s defence. HeKi remain undefeated away from Heinola and without a victory in it. In Joensuu, Jokipojat’s once bright start to the season stumbled again with a second successive home defeat, this time the beneficiaries being K-Vantaa. Even after the hour, Roope Ranta secured the extra point on penalties. Across the country in Vaasa, a tight game ensued between Sport and the dreadfully re-branded D-Team. The home team built up a two goal lead through Antti Jaatinen and Kim´Nabb, but were then pegged back a goal by Tuomo Laukkanen. The final minute saw Miro Laitinen restore the two goal advantage while the D-Team goal was vacant, and then Riku Silvennoinen reduce the arrears, but to no avail. Down the coast in Turku, TuTo grabbed the near obligatory three points against strugglers SaPKo. In Lempäälä, Titaanit continued on their travels and scored another five, two of them being short-handed. The final pairing featured old rivals Jukurit and Hokki clashing in Mikkeli. A fast, skillful and competitive game that wouldn’t have been out of place in the league above, had the home side scoring early through Tuomo Jormakka, and the visitors equalising later in the first period through Ville Komulainen. The honours remained even through to the end of extra time, but the following penalty shoot out provided the roughest of justice for Ari Reunanen. Like his counterpart, Teemu Seppänen in the Hokki goal, he had played a very good game making a number of quality saves, but Timo Kuuluvainen’s penalty shot went past him and hit the post, then rebounded onto the goalie’s back to slide slowly into the net off the post again for the decisive goal.

     HeKi  3 - 4  KooKoo
Jokipojat  3 - 4  K-Vantaa [penalties]
  Jukurit  1 - 2  Hokki [penalties]
     LeKi  2 - 5  Titaanit
    Sport  3 - 2  D-Team
     TuTo  4 - 0  SaPKo

Helsinki Times: KHL ruffles feathers as Nordic Trophy fails to capture imagination

12.9.2008

KHL ruffles feathers as Nordic Trophy fails to capture imagination

The Gazprom-backed Kontinental Hockey League has reached a transfer deal with the NHL, but the long term effects of the predominantly Russian league are causing discomfort for Finnish clubs.

EGAN RICHARDSON

HELSINKI TIMES

THE START of the Finnish hockey season has been coloured by back room politicking in response to the convulsions the sport is going through as a result of the petrodollar boom currently occurring across the Eastern border. The vast wealth acquired by Russian oligarchs and the Russian state has found an outlet in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), a new trans-national competition that will encompass teams in Belarus, Latvia and Kazakhstan.

Part of the raison d’etre of the KHL is to acquire players from the North American NHL, offering them colossal salaries to relocate to places like Kazan and Yaroslavl. This has achieved some notable transfers, such as Czech legend Jaromir Jagr. He left the New York Rangers in order to captain his new side, Avangard Omsk Oblast. He will be paid $7m USD a year and pay a flat rate tax of just 13%, giving him one of the highest net incomes of any hockey player in the world.

Not all transfers have been so smooth. While Jagr was surplus to requirements at the Rangers, Nashville Predators were desperate to keep their right wing, Alexander Radulov. The player himself signed for Salavat Ylaev Ufa, a team based in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan who will compete in the Bobrov division of the KHL.

Transfer deal

This was announced on July 11, the day after a deal was struck between the NHL and IIHF whereby all contracts would be respected by clubs in all leagues, including the major European competitions like SM Liiga and Sweden’s Elitserien. Radulov and his new club maintain that their contract was signed before the NHL-IIHF deal was struck, and now the case will go to court or binding arbitration.

We would like to create an environment where mutual respect of contracts is more than just a nice slogan,” Gazprom Vice president, IIHF board member and KHL boss Alexander Medvedev said in a phone interview with thn.com.

I believe every objective analyst or supporter of hockey, regardless of nationality or location, should appreciate that we are doing everything possible to have a civilized, transparent and legally solid method of player transfers between the KHL and the NHL. Our friends will never forgive (the KHL and NHL) if we create an environment and all of hockey will suffer. We know people are watching us and waiting for a decision.”

Nordic Trophy

Other European leagues are the target audience of that Medvedev missive. The smaller leagues have felt uncomfortable with transfer arrangements for a long time, and a suitable resolution to the transfer problems is one way the KHL can gain appreciation among the leagues that might feel threatened by the trans-national nature of the KHL.

That has caused fretting among SM Liiga management, as they worry how their clubs will be able to increase revenues in the new era of conflict between the KHL and NHL – particularly when the bigger clubs are being wooed to join the KHL.

Enter the Nordic Trophy, a pre-season tournament that certain teams would like to become a great deal more. The competition involves Kärpät, Tappara, HIFK, TPS and Jokerit from Finland, competing against HV71, Färjestads BK, Linköpings HC, Frölunda HC and Djurgådens IF from Sweden.

Keskisuomalainen reported that the Nordic Trophy participants would like to make it a Nordic League, but the reaction of fans and media in both countries has made that a more distant prospect. Jokerit and Kärpät have been mentioned in the Russian media as potential KHL participants, but that is not a priority for either team while the Russian clubs are unknown and unattractive to Finnish fans. If and when that changes, top-level Finnish hockey could look very different indeed.