Who would've believed?

Korkki
11-03-2003, 04:38 AM
After one third of the Finnish season played, the Porin Ässät tops the league table. Who would have believed that before the season started. Ässät was one of the favourites to finish the last in the series.

There are several reasons for the surprisingly high position. The team has played really well together. The tactics of coach Mika Toivola have worked well. And the final lock of the team, goalie Scott Langkow (ex -Atl & ex -Pho) has been the best goalie in the league. The “old guy” –line, Marko Kivenmäki – Martin Bergeron – Jari Korpisalo has scored really well, with Kivenmäki playing his best season this far and rising to the 3rd on the points scoring list. And the other lines have also been productive, so no-one could say that Ässät are just a one-line team. There are also some players who have clearly rose their level this season.

Ässät has the highest average age of the league, even though the youngest player ever play in the league (87-born Jesse Joensuu, 4 games with only a little ice-time though) is also on the team. But the veterans have obeyed the tactics of the young coach (youngest coach of the league) Toivola really well. The tactic on away games is simply to defend with 5 men and try to make quick counter-attacks. On home games the tactic is to skate “over” the opponent and try to start very effectively, taking the lead early. Both tactics have worked this far. Another positive aspect has been on the mental side. Though the opponent had two or three goals lead, Ässät have more than once came back and equalized the game or even gone past them to win. The roster is very thin, but luckily there have been no long injuries this season (like last season has). Only one thing is I am disappointed, Ässät have lost three home games this season. All with one goal difference and the IFK game with really bad luck, the winning goal was 100% luck when puck bounced theoretically impossible way into the player in front of the net.

What do you think about this? Are you as surprised as I am (though I am a fan and followed Ässät all my life)? I am really surprised the old players to play exactly as the young coach wanted them to do.

jepjepjoo
11-03-2003, 04:59 AM
Scott Langkow (ex -Atl & ex -Pho) has been the best goalie in the league.

Best goalies so far IMO

1. Niklas Backström
2. Jere Myllyniemi
3. Rob Tallas
4. Scott Langkow
5. Pasi Häkkinen

Spiffy
11-03-2003, 05:04 AM
Interesting analysis and good thread. I want to see more things like this on the Finlandboards.

jj_fin
11-03-2003, 09:26 AM
Langkow isn't the best goalie in the league. In my opinion he's a bit too shaky. Best goalie in the league? Lehto, or Bäckström. Langkow is behind those two with Tallas, they're not far behind but anyway.

Well, I guess that I shouldn't have said that, since it seems that to Ässät-fans Langkow = God. And you can't say a bad word about him. Of course that isn't true (I think), but thats the impression that I've got.

Yeah, it's a big surprise, that Ässät is the league leader. There was a lot of hype in the pre-season, but I thought that it was only 'Tami-talk'. Toivola has done tremendous job as a coach, he'll be a top-coach for sure in the future. Though he might be one already.

I find it kinda of funny, that your big stars so far have been players who have played in Japan or Norway. And that you have lots of old Kärpät-players, that were 4th-line guys in our team or they were in the top lines but that was at the time when we played in the I divisioona. Kivi, Bergeron, Harjula, Virkkunen, Törnvall, Fandul. Oh well, players change clubs I guess.

The way I see it, Toivola has got 110% out of these guys, and you will prolly fall a lot in the table. Just like SaiPa did last year. Though I also think that you will make the playoffs for sure, maybe not straight away but you will definitely be in the Top 10. Congrats for leading the league again, enjoy it while you can.

Though you stilll have played more games than us or HIFK ;)

Korkki
11-03-2003, 12:46 PM
And that you have lots of old Kärpät-players, that were 4th-line guys in our team or they were in the top lines but that was at the time when we played in the I divisioona. Kivi, Bergeron, Harjula, Virkkunen, Törnvall, Fandul.
Actually, Kivi and Fandul were 1st line players in Ässät before they joined Kärpät. Harjula, Törnvall and Virkkunen are not first line players here either.

That's true Langkow has been inconsistent. But please note that he has played 19 games plus 33 minutes of 20 games. So maybe we can accept that. And he really lets easy goals if there aren't much shots. But when there are lots of work he is great like 60 saves against lukko a week ago. And on sundays game none of the 5 goals were Lankku's fault.

jepjepjoo, have you mixed Jere Myllyniemi with someone else? He surely is not even on top 10 goalies at the moment (what it shows that Heinonen has played on Blues games lately).