What is wrong with finnish hockey?

Slime
12-06-2003, 06:18 AM
It's the 6th of Dec which means it's the finnish national day. After i've just poured some julmust in my glass and light two candles at my window (I'm half finnish), I thought I'd begin this day by asking what's wrong with finnish hockey.

Finland doesn't seem to be able to produce succesful forwards. I think you all must have been thinking what the hell is wrong with all the finnish forward prospects that came to the NHL this season. They're all flops so far! Tuomo Ruutu, Antti Miettinen, Tommi Santala, Eero Somervuori, Esa Pirnes and Tuomas Pihlman... (the only exception is Sean Bergenheim who surprisingly made the NYI lineup). Most of these have scored like one or two points in 20 games, and have been dropped to the AHL. Huge disappointment.

And what's still engraved in my memory is all the young finnish players that have returned to Finland (or elsewhere) during the last 2-3 years after their unsuccessful attempts to make it in the NHL - Tomi Kallio, Timo Pärssinen, Antti Aalto, Toni Dahlman and Timo Vertala plus some older dudes like Virta, Peltonen, Lind, Nurminen and Hyvönen.

Add the struggling Niko Kapanen, Jani Rita and Ville Nieminen in NA right now and we've come up to a whole 19 disappointing players (and even the supposed-to-be top prospects Mikko Koivu and Niinimäki are progressing very slow at home), and you understand what I'm trying to say.

This is remarkable, and the current success of finnish goalies can not compensate the fact that Finland even with this, what everyone-including-me-thought-would-be, "a promising" generation of players won't reach Swedens (or any other in the top 5) level in icehockey. :cry:

psycho_dad
12-08-2003, 10:50 PM
It's the 6th of Dec which means it's the finnish national day. After i've just poured some julmust in my glass and light two candles at my window (I'm half finnish), I thought I'd begin this day by asking what's wrong with finnish hockey.

Finland doesn't seem to be able to produce succesful forwards. I think you all must have been thinking what the hell is wrong with all the finnish forward prospects that came to the NHL this season. They're all flops so far! Tuomo Ruutu, Antti Miettinen, Tommi Santala, Eero Somervuori, Esa Pirnes and Tuomas Pihlman... (the only exception is Sean Bergenheim who surprisingly made the NYI lineup). Most of these have scored like one or two points in 20 games, and have been dropped to the AHL. Huge disappointment.

And what's still engraved in my memory is all the young finnish players that have returned to Finland (or elsewhere) during the last 2-3 years after their unsuccessful attempts to make it in the NHL - Tomi Kallio, Timo Pärssinen, Antti Aalto, Toni Dahlman and Timo Vertala plus some older dudes like Virta, Peltonen, Lind, Nurminen and Hyvönen.

Add the struggling Niko Kapanen, Jani Rita and Ville Nieminen in NA right now and we've come up to a whole 19 disappointing players (and even the supposed-to-be top prospects Mikko Koivu and Niinimäki are progressing very slow at home), and you understand what I'm trying to say.

This is remarkable, and the current success of finnish goalies can not compensate the fact that Finland even with this, what everyone-including-me-thought-would-be, "a promising" generation of players won't reach Swedens (or any other in the top 5) level in icehockey. :cry:

We seem to have a very different view of the situation. Current situation of finnish goalies? Toskala starts for SJ, Noronen for Buffalo, Kiprusoff for Calgary and Nurminen for Atlanta. Lehtonen has been great in AHL and will be a top notch goalie...Ahonen and Toivonen are getting high praise. Does ANY other country than Canada have a bigger bunch of promising goalies at the moment? No.

Ruutu will be amazing...its his first year and crap linemates. Joe Thornton was a bust on his first year also...look how that turned out!

You completely forgot about Joni "Calder trophy+ loads of Norris in the future" Pitkänen.

Actually your focus on some failures who were never even supposed to make it in the NHL (Pärssinen, Aalto, Vertala) and judging young boys based on their production on first year makes me think you are a swedish troll who is just jealous. And the fact that you used a word like "julmust" is more proof. Im sorry that you are intimitated by the future team Finland..but you have every reason to be. Last time our top teams battled, it was 2-1 for Finland...and it's not looking any brighter for you guys in the future either ;)

Peter25
12-09-2003, 12:16 AM
Well, I think Finland does not produce players like they did 10 years ago. In a very short span Finland produced Selänne, Koivu, Lehtinen, Sami Kapanen and Niinimaa. After that it´s been very quiet. I can name only Olli Jokinen, Joni Pitkänen and maybe Niklas Hagman and Niko Kapanen (which are struggling right now) that Finland has produced since then.

Look at the Czechs and the Russians. I mean Finland should be producing a lot more elite players than the Czechs because Finland has a lot more hockey rinks and players than the Czecsh, and natural ice on winter.

Finland also has more rinks and registered players than Russia, as strange as it seems.

psycho_dad
12-09-2003, 12:41 AM
Well, I think Finland does not produce players like they did 10 years ago. In a very short span Finland produced Selänne, Koivu, Lehtinen, Sami Kapanen and Niinimaa. After that it´s been very quiet. I can name only Olli Jokinen, Joni Pitkänen and maybe Niklas Hagman and Niko Kapanen (which are struggling right now) that Finland has produced since then.

Look at the Czechs and the Russians. I mean Finland should be producing a lot more elite players than the Czechs because Finland has a lot more hockey rinks and players than the Czecsh, and natural ice on winter.

Finland also has more rinks and registered players than Russia, as strange as it seems.


Actually I dont believe that last line. Last I heard Canada and Russia were the leaders in amount of rinks. Also registered players? Ok maybe they do things a bit different in Russia, but of course they have 10 times more hockey players.

Finland has had two real good bunches...other being that Koivu-Lehtinen-Niinimaa etc and now Lehtonen-Pitkänen-Ruutu. Selänne and Jokinen have been the only big stars in their years.

Country as small as Finland just cant produce loads of top prospect every year. Maybe every 10 years or 15 years such a bunch can come up.

Just look at Sweden, much bigger country and who is their last top prospect? Zetterberg?

psycho_dad
12-09-2003, 12:44 AM
I think Finland is producing much more NHL ready players these days than lets say 10-15 years ago.

eh
12-09-2003, 03:31 AM
Slime does have a point. Guess how many Finnish players are there among the top 100 scorers in the NHL this season. A grand total of two. Yes, two, and neither of them in the top 50. Again, how many Finnish forwards play regular shift in a scoring line in the NHL. Selänne, Jokinen, Koivu, Lehtinen, ... That's it, four. Some of the prospects definately have talent to some day replace these guys, but most of them will always be just good two-way players who can be counted on doing their job but nothing else, just like most current Finnish NHLers.

There might be more Finns playing in the NHL/AHL than ever before, but it seems like almost all the forwards came from the same factory. This factory is the Finnish coaching system and while it's doing pretty well in terms of quantity, there should be a bit more emphasis on quality and diversity.

psycho_dad
12-11-2003, 02:19 AM
There might be more Finns playing in the NHL/AHL than ever before, but it seems like almost all the forwards came from the same factory. This factory is the Finnish coaching system and while it's doing pretty well in terms of quantity, there should be a bit more emphasis on quality and diversity.


Thats not the point Slime was making. I agree with you on what you said here though. The quality has dropped a notch, we dont have a Koivu or Selänne in the works unless Ruutu really reaches his full potential. Finland is now producing good teamplayers but no stars...hopefully some young star can break the cycle.

Finnish head coach said that they have to start working on the quality of shooting in junior training. I have to agree with that...how often do you see teams like USA just killing us with their laser beams even though they are in worse shape and cant skate like our team. There is no point in having blazing speed and controlling most of the ice if your guys cant put the puck where it belongs when they have a chance. I am already fed up with the "we dominated but lost" games where Finland shoots 40-50 times against opponents 20, and loses 4-1.

TK79
12-12-2003, 05:36 AM
Finland doesn't seem to be able to produce succesful forwards. I think you all must have been thinking what the hell is wrong with all the finnish forward prospects that came to the NHL this season. They're all flops so far! Tuomo Ruutu, Antti Miettinen, Tommi Santala, Eero Somervuori, Esa Pirnes and Tuomas Pihlman... (the only exception is Sean Bergenheim who surprisingly made the NYI lineup). Most of these have scored like one or two points in 20 games, and have been dropped to the AHL. Huge disappointment.

And what's still engraved in my memory is all the young finnish players that have returned to Finland (or elsewhere) during the last 2-3 years after their unsuccessful attempts to make it in the NHL - Tomi Kallio, Timo Pärssinen, Antti Aalto, Toni Dahlman and Timo Vertala plus some older dudes like Virta, Peltonen, Lind, Nurminen and Hyvönen.

Add the struggling Niko Kapanen, Jani Rita and Ville Nieminen in NA right now and we've come up to a whole 19 disappointing players (and even the supposed-to-be top prospects Mikko Koivu and Niinimäki are progressing very slow at home), and you understand what I'm trying to say.

While I will be the first to admit that the play of the Finnish forward prospects has been very dissapointing, we must remember that the season is only 30 games old. Ruutu is coming off a knee injury and is only starting to get back into top shape.Miettinen and Santala are getting used to NA hockey and will probably be contributing for their NHL clubs by seasons end.Pihlman clearly needed AHL-seasoning, and nobody expected him to play for the Devils this season.As for Somervuori and Pirnes, I don't think anyone even considered them "top-notch" prospects and any NHL games they get will be a bonus.

As for the guys you mentioned like Aalto, Hyvönen, Vertala, Kallio etc. I think only Kallio was considered a top prospect, and the other guys were fringe NHL'ers at best. Unfortunately Kallio was too soft to make it in the NHL. I still believe Rita and Kapanen have bright NHL futures ahead of them, for example Rita just needs a chance in Edm to prove himself.He's currently leading his AHL team in scoring, so he'll get it sooner or later. I also have no complaints with Koivu or Niinimäki. Niinimäki really impressed the Oilers with his play in rookie camp this autumn and was off to a fast start in the SM-liiga before suffering a season-ending injury. Koivu has also had some bad luck with injuries but has been consistently developing. They should both be NHL-scoring line players within three years.

It's also weird to hear this from a Swede.. Currently Sweden has 5 NHL star players, all of which are over 30:
Alfredsson 31
Forsberg 30 (will probably retire after season due to injuries)
Näslund 30
Sundin 32
Lidström 33

Look 4 or 5 years down the line and there is really nobody to replace these guys. I looked at the stats of the next generation of Swedish players in the NHL this year and found that these guys weren't exactly on fire either:
H. Sedin 1 goal
D. Sedin 3 goals
Zetterberg 2 goals
Huselius 3 goals
Berglund 3 goals
Samuelsson AHL
Sjöström AHL
Weinhandel AHL

It isn't a good year for Swedish rookies either, I don't think there is a single one playing regularly in the NHL.

As for goalies Johan Hedberg and Tommy Salo are starting to be considered back-ups and Johan Holmquist and Mikael Tellquist are in the AHL, so I would be more worried about the future of Swedish hockey than Finnish hockey..

By the way, here's a potentional team Finland for the 2006 olympics. Personally I think it looks a lot better than the one we had in Salt Lake City:

G
1. Kari Lehtonen
2. Mika Noronen
3. Kiprusoff/Hurme/Toskala/Ahonen/Toivonen/Niittymäki

D
Joni Pitkänen-Kimmo Timonen
Janne Niinimaa-Sami Salo
Toni Lydman-Ossi Vaananen

Jere Karalahti/Aki Berg/Lasse Kukkonen/Janne Niskala

F
Tuomo Ruutu-Saku Koivu-Jere Lehtinen
Sean Bergenheim-Olli Jokinen-Antti Miettinen
Sami Kapanen-Jesse Niinimäki-Jani Rita
Niklas Hagman-Mikko Koivu-Jarkko Immonen

Lauri Tukonen/Tommi Santala/Niko Kapanen/Jussi Jokinen/Jari Viuhkola

Riddarn
12-12-2003, 09:57 AM
First of all, I don't think any of those players have flopped yet, put Tuomo with som better line mates and he'll start producing, I'm sure of it. Pitkänen simply is great.

Second..


I looked at the stats of the next generation of Swedish players in the NHL this year and found that these guys weren't exactly on fire either:
H. Sedin 1 goal
D. Sedin 3 goals
Zetterberg 2 goals
Huselius 3 goals
Berglund 3 goals
Samuelsson AHL
Sjöström AHL
Weinhandel AHL



I agree with this, but with some reservations. Zetterberg had a broken leg and Weinhandl is also coming back from injuries. Both of them produced decent numbers their first year, better PPG than the Sedins anyway ;) Berglund plays on the Devils which usually means you get to play at least semi finals in the Stanley Cup, but you won't score alot of points, I still think he can become a 20-goal a year type of guy. The way I see it, Huselius and the Sedins are the ones that are the real let downs of this pack.

Slime
12-13-2003, 04:39 AM
Ruutu will be amazing...its his first year and crap linemates. Joe Thornton was a bust on his first year also...look how that turned out!


Well, Thornton was 2.5 years younger than Ruutu was in his first seson, so it's hard to compare. If you look at his stats at the same age, as a 20 year old, Thornton was scoring 1.0 PPG. :lol:


and judging young boys based on their production on first year makes me think you are a swedish troll who is just jealous. And the fact that you used a word like "julmust" is more proof.

Actually julmust tastes good. :D And I'm a true finn in my heart, I always cheer for Finland in everything. I might be a troll though. :p


Im sorry that you are intimitated by the future team Finland..but you have every reason to be. Last time our top teams battled, it was 2-1 for Finland...and it's not looking any brighter for you guys in the future either ;)

Well, I really hope Finland can catch up on Sweden in terms of NHL representation and at the international level (World cup, Olympics!), but I just don't can't see it coming yet. Not even with this what-everyone-thought-would-be the new promising generation of finnish players.

Sweden (and Cze, Rus) always has around 10 players that make 50 pts or more in a season - year after year, while Finland seldom has even 4 or 5. Many thought that this would change with so many good prospects coming out of Finland in the last 4-5 years. Finland would be able to reach the level of some of the countries in the top 5 (mainly Swe, but maybe also Cze), and being able to actually choose between its top scorers, not just being forced to pick them all for their national team, when WC or Olympics comes up. Not only Ruutu, Rita and Koivu would become one of these +50 pt players, but also a few of guys like Niinimäki, Miettinen, Santala, Pihlman, and J Jokinen. Now it only seems like it's gonna be perhaps Tuomo Ruutu besides our good old OJ.


While I will be the first to admit that the play of the Finnish forward prospects has been very dissapointing, we must remember that the season is only 30 games old. Ruutu is coming off a knee injury and is only starting to get back into top shape.Miettinen and Santala are getting used to NA hockey and will probably be contributing for their NHL clubs by seasons end.Pihlman clearly needed AHL-seasoning, and nobody expected him to play for the Devils this season.


Excuses, excuses. How can they all disappoint? Even if it's "only" 30 games, clearly this is an indication of things to come - a big disappointment. A lot of finns has already - based on the start of this season - been dropped on all kinds of prospect rankings out there (even the Stars writer put Mattias Tjärnqvist ahead of Miettinen just recently!)



As for Somervuori and Pirnes, I don't think anyone even considered them "top-notch" prospects and any NHL games they get will be a bonus.
As for the guys you mentioned like Aalto, Hyvönen, Vertala, Kallio etc. I think only Kallio was considered a top prospect, and the other guys were fringe NHL'ers at best. Unfortunately Kallio was too soft to make it in the NHL.

I didn't talk only about top proscects, but all forwards with possible NHL careers. And in this respect those guys too have failed. Normally - if they were swedes - those kind of players would be NHL regulars, not your scoring machines perhaps, but making 15-40 pts spread out on different roles like any NHL player (fill-in scoring line players, two-way forwards, all-around players etc, most of the players in the NHL are of this kind). Swedish examples of this are Samuel Påhlsson, Markus Nilsson, Sundström, P-J Axelsson, Nils Ekman, Mattias Tjärnqvist, Mikael Samuelsson, Weinhandl, Berglund.



It's also weird to hear this from a Swede.. Currently Sweden has 5 NHL star players, all of which are over 30:
Alfredsson 31
Forsberg 30 (will probably retire after season due to injuries)
Näslund 30
Sundin 32
Lidström 33

Look 4 or 5 years down the line and there is really nobody to replace these guys.

Yes you are right about the extreme top, which means that Sweden will be a bit weaker in that respect (having the best top 5 on the ice in the world). Sweden will have a hard time getting so many stars-superstars. But those 5 you mentioned are really, really special! Sweden is lucky to have them right now, but no country can expect to get that from every generation either.

Although there ain't no new Sundin or Forsberg among the swedish prospects, there is a bunch of players that nevertheless will be good point scorers (my so called +50 pts players) and have progressed as people thought they would. Zetterberg, D Sedin, H Sedin, Huselius, Weinhandl are already established 40pt players (while Finland only has Olli Jokinen, while the rest are struggling). You also have Alexander Steen and Robert Nilsson coming out good, a combo that certainly looks better than Koivu/Niinimäki. Sjöström has got a good start (1st NHL goal tonight), and before we know it Berglund will also be up there.

So I can see Sweden being able to keep having 9-10 players in the top 100 scoring list in the future too (while the Czechs have +10, and the finns like 5-6...).

I hope I'm wrong though.

TK79
12-13-2003, 11:25 AM
Well, Thornton was 2.5 years younger than Ruutu was in his first seson, so it's hard to compare. If you look at his stats at the same age, as a 20 year old, Thornton was scoring 1.0 PPG. :lol:



Actually julmust tastes good. :D And I'm a true finn in my heart, I always cheer for Finland in everything. I might be a troll though. :p



Well, I really hope Finland can catch up on Sweden in terms of NHL representation and at the international level (World cup, Olympics!), but I just don't can't see it coming yet. Not even with this what-everyone-thought-would-be the new promising generation of finnish players.

Sweden (and Cze, Rus) always has around 10 players that make 50 pts or more in a season - year after year, while Finland seldom has even 4 or 5. Many thought that this would change with so many good prospects coming out of Finland in the last 4-5 years. Finland would be able to reach the level of some of the countries in the top 5 (mainly Swe, but maybe also Cze), and being able to actually choose between its top scorers, not just being forced to pick them all for their national team, when WC or Olympics comes up. Not only Ruutu, Rita and Koivu would become one of these +50 pt players, but also a few of guys like Niinimäki, Miettinen, Santala, Pihlman, and J Jokinen. Now it only seems like it's gonna be perhaps Tuomo Ruutu besides our good old OJ.



Excuses, excuses. How can they all disappoint? Even if it's "only" 30 games, clearly this is an indication of things to come - a big disappointment. A lot of finns has already - based on the start of this season - been dropped on all kinds of prospect rankings out there (even the Stars writer put Mattias Tjärnqvist ahead of Miettinen just recently!)




I didn't talk only about top proscects, but all forwards with possible NHL careers. And in this respect those guys too have failed. Normally - if they were swedes - those kind of players would be NHL regulars, not your scoring machines perhaps, but making 15-40 pts spread out on different roles like any NHL player (fill-in scoring line players, two-way forwards, all-around players etc, most of the players in the NHL are of this kind). Swedish examples of this are Samuel Påhlsson, Markus Nilsson, Sundström, P-J Axelsson, Nils Ekman, Mattias Tjärnqvist, Mikael Samuelsson, Weinhandl, Berglund.




Yes you are right about the extreme top, which means that Sweden will be a bit weaker in that respect (having the best top 5 on the ice in the world). Sweden will have a hard time getting so many stars-superstars. But those 5 you mentioned are really, really special! Sweden is lucky to have them right now, but no country can expect to get that from every generation either.

Although there ain't no new Sundin or Forsberg among the swedish prospects, there is a bunch of players that nevertheless will be good point scorers (my so called +50 pts players) and have progressed as people thought they would. Zetterberg, D Sedin, H Sedin, Huselius, Weinhandl are already established 40pt players (while Finland only has Olli Jokinen, while the rest are struggling). You also have Alexander Steen and Robert Nilsson coming out good, a combo that certainly looks better than Koivu/Niinimäki. Sjöström has got a good start (1st NHL goal tonight), and before we know it Berglund will also be up there.

So I can see Sweden being able to keep having 9-10 players in the top 100 scoring list in the future too (while the Czechs have +10, and the finns like 5-6...).

I hope I'm wrong though.

I disagree on many of your statements:

-Ruutu, Rita, Bergenheim, Miettinen, Koivu, Niinimäki,J. Jokinen, Jarkko Immonen, maybe Hagman and Pihlman will become 50 point players, and this crop looks better than the one Sweden has in the respective age groups.2004 prospect Lauri Tukonen is much more promissing than any Swede in next years draft. O. Jokinen has already made the ALL-STAR game, something none of the young Swedes have been able to accomplish.Just because a few guys have started slow in their ROOKIE seasons doesn't give you enough to reach your conclusions.If the situation is the same in two years I will be the first to admit i'm wrong.

-The Sedins and Weinhandl have never scored 40+ points, and Huselius will be lucky to score 20 with the way he is playing this year.Your views on Berglund and Sjöström are pure speculation.. Hardly established 40 point players. Zetterberg's a keeper though.

-I would rather have Niinmäki and Koivu than Steen and Nilsson, and i'm sure most NHL scouts agree with me.

-Kronwall, Jonsson or Backman don't come close Pitkänen, who will be the best European D for years

-You don't even want to bring up the Goaltender thing, do you?

Slime
12-13-2003, 01:48 PM
I disagree on many of your statements:

-Ruutu, Rita, Bergenheim, Miettinen, Koivu, Niinimäki,J. Jokinen, Jarkko Immonen, maybe Hagman and Pihlman will become 50 point players, and this crop looks better than the one Sweden has in the respective age groups.

You gotta be kidding me. All of the 8 first mentioned will be 50 point players?! And when is that gonna happen?? Yes, one or two years ago you would have thought that, but the fact is that in the last 2-3 years the only young finns to establish himself as a decent NHL regular are Niklas Hagman and Niko Kapanen. Only two players! It's so pathetic that I feel sorry for finnish hockey and it's fans. That must be an indication that, in general, the prospects coming from Finland have been overrated.

If it was like two or three players with a slow start this season, but come on... all of the newcomers are struggling. And Pihlman has like one point in 10 games in the AHL, so I doubt his former teammate Jarkko Immonen will become much better. "Oh his game is so mature, he is so intelligent and he always takes care of his defense too, so dominating, a boy among men, bla bla". Big hype, then flop. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. When it comes to finnish forward prospects it's all talk, no results. :mad:

Is it that the level of SM-liiga ain't that high after all, that the guys from there just can't compete with the real players in the world? Personally I think that is one reason, and the other is that technically, finnish players lack skill somehow. Perhaps not enough focus on scoring and passing. They're all being taught so much two-way that it makes me puke. The most important thing though, I think is the mental area, that many finnish players don't have enough self confidence and winner instinct, like say czechs and swedes do, and they end up back in Europe.



-I would rather have Niinmäki and Koivu than Steen and Nilsson, and i'm sure most NHL scouts agree with me.

-Kronwall, Jonsson or Backman don't come close Pitkänen, who will be the best European D for years

-You don't even want to bring up the Goaltender thing, do you?

No. One year ago it still was Koivu/Niinimäki, but on most prospect lists the swedish combo is ranked higher now.

The amount of good finnish keepers is impressive, but that wasn't the primary topic I tried to bring up. And having 10 great goalies means squat in the World Cup/Olympics, when you can only have one to play the game (and nowadays all countries have at least one real good goalie anyway, except for maybe Slovakia, so it's not much of a big deal).

The same can be said about Pitkänen. Yes, he might become the new Lidström. But one great defender won't lift Finland enough, if the others are just half decent (I'm not saying that sweden has better D prospects though). Just like Lidström needs guys like Mattias Nordström, Kim Johnsson and Mattias Öhlund to succeed on the international level, Finland will need good backup for Pitkänen.

In the pre-Olympic talks to Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake 2002 and the predictions for World Cup 1996, I clearly remember everyone say that the finns have a decent situation in the goal and in their defense, but there was no way they could compete with the top 5 countries with their forwards. Personally I had hoped that this would have changed, if not for 2006, but for 2010 at least. But again it looks like Finland will remain faithful to its history of weak forwards. :cry:

Raimo Sillanpää
12-13-2003, 04:20 PM
Please guys.. stop trolling..

1- Hagman will never get 50 points, maybe in Mestis but not in NHL. Huselius is the same here, he's too old to be a prospect and he'll be pushed down to give youngsters ice time or moved around to accomodate others.. the rest of their careers will be 3rd line type forwards.
2- all countries except Sweden and Slovakia have a real good goalie (Salo doesn't cut it anymore!)
3- On the one hand you criticise Finnish role-players but then turn around and praise Swedish role-players for the exact same thing. This is very hypocritical
4- Niko Kapanen will be an elite 2 way forward, he's having a"sophmore slump" right now, but will bounce back and be the Lehtinen of this generation. and actually I'd call his sophmore slump more of a Dallas Stars slump, if they'd wake up and get their act rolling (Mike Modano at -17 anyone??) Niko's stats would be much better..
5- Mittinen, Jussi Jokinen, Immonen, Pihlman,Ruutu,Koivu will be top 2 line forwards all of them. you criticise Ruutu after 30 games, but it took Todd Bertuzzi until he was 25 or something to start showing what he is, Ruutu will arrive far sooner, very very soon imho and will be an elite forward. Miettinen needed to adjust to the small ice more than Dallas expected, it will eb the same thing as Niko Kapanen who spent a year in the AHL before having a great rookie season.

Of the names compared here, the Finnish list does look much brighter. But like eh said, there is a problem with the finnish coaching mindset that is producing tons of quantity and mostly in 2way forwards, they are choking off the creative talent of the kids and need to be stopped. It isn't a coincidence that Saku Koivu etc all came out when Jurzinov was in TPS. We need more adventurous and open-minded offensive coaching in the 12-18 age group who'll focus on player skills other than checking..

Predatore
12-13-2003, 05:32 PM
An interesting read I must say. I actually thought you Finnish fans out there where quite satisfied with the situation.
Here in Sweden on the other hand there is basically an article / day with comments and suggestions how to improve Swedish hockey.
"The Finns are taking over", "The Finns are ahead now", "The Finnish juniors are much more talented" etc.. are sentences / headlines I read all of the time.. and I must say that I right now don't see a reason why I should not to agree with ‘em.

I try to be an optimist. Looking at the younger players… Sweden hasn't really had a strong age group since the 82's. The 84's are bad, the 85's are perhaps even worse but the 86's and especially the 87's are really interesting. There are some potential star players in both age groups and players that I would say could turn out really good in a couple of years (Nicklas Bergfors for example, is a name you’ll hear a lot in the future).

Well, back to the subject then. Sweden and Finland are small countries compared to Russia and Canada and we obviously can't be expected to produce players of Forsberg's caliber at regular basis. If we produce 2-3 superstars every 10 years we should be more than happy.

When it comes to scoring in the NHL the Swedes and Finns simply don't have the same scoring mentality as the Russians or the Czechs. We are taught about team-play at an early age and don't get the same amount of individual training (shooting, one-on-one etc) as the other countries.
Once in a while we get a Markus Näslund or Teemu Selänne, but those are rare players and the truth is that most of the NHLers we produce are solid two-way forwards with a good attitude and admirable work-ethics. I think that those attributes are very characteristic for Swedish and Finnish players in the NHL.

As for the Finnish prospects in the NHL I’m rather convinced that most of them will be fine NHLers for years. I can’t say that I see a new Saku Koivu or Selänne but Pitkänen could very well overtake Lidström’s title as the best European defenseman / NHL’s best defenseman in 5 years or so.

Padawan
12-14-2003, 12:32 AM
I'm going to say only two things. Ice Hockey is a team sport. Rarely an indivudual wins the game. I'd rather have a team that plays well together than couple of amazing individuals.

The other thing is that let our youngsters learn how to play in NA. The game is totally different there and at the current time most GM's likes to take it slowly when it comes to prospects. Only few prospects gets their chance in NHL right away.

Oh, and Slime. Chill.

Slime
12-14-2003, 04:07 AM
Oh, and Slime. Chill.

That was cheap.

(especially from a moderator)

psycho_dad
12-19-2003, 12:50 AM
Yeah sure Slime, I am very convinced that you are a fan of finns after reading your posts in this thread and then reading your posts around the boards (mainly in your SEL threads).

You challenge the level of SM-liiga and the quality of Finnish players all together, then you go on about how great the swede counterparts are.

To answer all your questions about SM-liiga and the quality of Finnish players...take a look at the last 4 euro tours. You can also take a look at the current one since it's pretty much a lock for Finland already. Players mostly from that crap SM-liiga you keep doubting keep playing in those tournaments..in the last 4 years Finland has tested a huge roster of 70-80 players with newcomers on the team constantly, and still they have won every year. Explain that.

If you expected Ruutu, Miettinen, Pihlman, Somervuori etc to develop into superstar forwards or even 50 pt players this year, that does not make THEM any worse than they are but makes you look like a dunce. Talk about unfair expectations. It will take a few years before all these young promises have developed into what they can be. Pitkänen might grow even faster, his development has been surprisingly fast.

Spiffy
12-19-2003, 04:44 AM
Some players need more time than others, end of story.

J.P
01-07-2004, 10:40 PM
I think once Daze gets back, Ruutu will start producing more! (thats if they play on the same line!)

psycho_dad
01-08-2004, 02:12 AM
After seeing some Blackhawks games this year, I can honestly say the problem they have has nothing to do with Ruutu. Last night against Wild he was their best player, simple as that. And he did that in the third line with MacLean and Nieminen who are by no means snipers. Ruutu did not get any points but when he was on the ice, he made things happen.

Their defence was horrible and Leighton sucked everything in.

IFK
01-08-2004, 05:36 AM
After seeing some Blackhawks games this year, I can honestly say the problem they have has nothing to do with Ruutu. Last night against Wild he was their best player, simple as that. And he did that in the third line with MacLean and Nieminen who are by no means snipers. Ruutu did not get any points but when he was on the ice, he made things happen.

Their defence was horrible and Leighton sucked everything in.

I agree whit you. Ruutu was greart last night and i dont really undertand why he is playing in third line. I think Ruutu can still be better what he was last night, but that was great what i see. I am allways like Ruutu´s play style and i see yesterday that there is that "old" good Ruutu still if people say there is not and judging his play.

teme
01-09-2004, 01:42 AM
Looking at the future, let's pick Torino games, this is what my crystal ball tells me. The Finnish squad will be:
C - S. Koivu, N. Kapanen, Hahl, Filppula, M. Koivu
LW - T. Ruutu, O. Jokinen, Miettinen, Bergenheim, Hagman
RW - Lehtinen, S. Kapanen, J. Jokinen, J. Ruutu
LD - Pitkänen, Timonen, Väänänen, Berg
RD - Niinimaa, Lydman, Karalahti, Lepistö
G - Lehtonen, Nurminen

We have about 30 forwards who could play in Olympic level, including for example Immonen, Pihlman and Hagman but still lack snipers and haven't really found a replacement for Selänne, although Tuomo Ruutu, Olli Jokinen, Saku Koivu and Lehtinen put up good numbers. Tukonen and Piispanen are showing promise but still too young, and Niinimäki is finally turning into a fine playemaker, but the best up and coming scorer we have is Jussi Jokinen. In defence, the depth is somewhat lacking but we can still round up a dozen good dman from 75ers Timonen, Niinimaa and Karalahti to young Risto Korhonen. We will also have three NHL starting goalies, given there is an NHL.

psycho_dad
01-09-2004, 02:24 AM
Looking at the future, let's pick Torino games, this is what my crystal ball tells me. The Finnish squad will be:
C - S. Koivu, N. Kapanen, Hahl, Filppula, M. Koivu
LW - T. Ruutu, O. Jokinen, Miettinen, Bergenheim, Hagman
RW - Lehtinen, S. Kapanen, J. Jokinen, J. Ruutu
LD - Pitkänen, Timonen, Väänänen, Berg
RD - Niinimaa, Lydman, Karalahti, Lepistö
G - Lehtonen, Nurminen

We have about 30 forwards who could play in Olympic level, including for example Immonen, Pihlman and Hagman but still lack snipers and haven't really found a replacement for Selänne, although Tuomo Ruutu, Olli Jokinen, Saku Koivu and Lehtinen put up good numbers. Tukonen and Piispanen are showing promise but still too young, and Niinimäki is finally turning into a fine playemaker, but the best up and coming scorer we have is Jussi Jokinen. In defence, the depth is somewhat lacking but we can still round up a dozen good dman from 75ers Timonen, Niinimaa and Karalahti to young Risto Korhonen. We will also have three NHL starting goalies, given there is an NHL.

Olli Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen are all mainly centers but Ruutu and Jokinen have played wing also.

We could have 2 Koivu lines and two Jokinen lines ;)

teme
01-09-2004, 02:46 AM
Olli Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen are all mainly centers but Ruutu and Jokinen have played wing also.
I know, I just like them both better at wing, Ruutu in particular. Every junior star plays centre, come to think of only three of the wingers listed (Lehtinen, Bergenheim and Jarkko Ruutu) have played that position for as long back as I've seen them play.
We could have 2 Koivu lines and two Jokinen lines ;)
Heck, if Janne Jokila can play and we can get Kovalchuk to agree on Finnish citizen ship, we could have a KoKoKo and JoJoJo lines. Or JJJ and KKK, but the latter has a bad ring to it. And then we convert Kiprusoff winger or play Petrell and have RuRuRu third line: Ruutu, Ruutu and Ruma. (Finnish joke, sorry.)

psycho_dad
01-09-2004, 11:35 AM
I know, I just like them both better at wing, Ruutu in particular. Every junior star plays centre, come to think of only three of the wingers listed (Lehtinen, Bergenheim and Jarkko Ruutu) have played that position for as long back as I've seen them play.

Heck, if Janne Jokila can play and we can get Kovalchuk to agree on Finnish citizen ship, we could have a KoKoKo and JoJoJo lines. Or JJJ and KKK, but the latter has a bad ring to it. And then we convert Kiprusoff winger or play Petrell and have RuRuRu third line: Ruutu, Ruutu and Ruma. (Finnish joke, sorry.)

Petrell doesnt even touch the ugliness that is Kiprusoff.

Slime
01-09-2004, 09:34 PM
Looking at the future, let's pick Torino games, this is what my crystal ball tells me. The Finnish squad will be:
C - S. Koivu, N. Kapanen, Hahl, Filppula, M. Koivu
LW - T. Ruutu, O. Jokinen, Miettinen, Bergenheim, Hagman
RW - Lehtinen, S. Kapanen, J. Jokinen, J. Ruutu.

I agree with your predicted lineup, but compare that to the other squads that those forwards have to play against in the Olympics 2006, and it sends shivers through your bones:

RUS: Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Kovalev, Frolov, S. Kozlov, Fedorov, Samsonov, Chistov, V.Kozlov, P. Bure, V. Bure, Yashin

CZE: Jagr, Hejduk, Havlat, Elias, Hemsky, Lang, Olesz, Bonk, Sykora, Rucinsky, Michalek, Hudler, Straka

SWE: Forsberg, Näslund, Zetterberg, Alfredsson, Sundin, Nylander, D. Sedin, H. Sedin, Steen, Sjöström, Huselius, Holmström, R. Nilsson

Put up against those names it's sad to see guys like N. Kapanen, S. Kapanen (who hardly will be able to make an impact in 2006), Filppula and J. Ruutu making the roster.

psycho_dad
01-10-2004, 01:56 AM
I agree with your predicted lineup, but compare that to the other squads that those forwards have to play against in the Olympics 2006, and it sends shivers through your bones:

RUS: Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Kovalev, Frolov, S. Kozlov, Fedorov, Samsonov, Chistov, V.Kozlov, P. Bure, V. Bure, Yashin

CZE: Jagr, Hejduk, Havlat, Elias, Hemsky, Lang, Olesz, Bonk, Sykora, Rucinsky, Michalek, Hudler, Straka

SWE: Forsberg, Näslund, Zetterberg, Alfredsson, Sundin, Nylander, D. Sedin, H. Sedin, Steen, Sjöström, Huselius, Holmström, R. Nilsson

Put up against those names it's sad to see guys like N. Kapanen, S. Kapanen (who hardly will be able to make an impact in 2006), Filppula and J. Ruutu making the roster.


I agree that those Russians and Czechs look scary. Sweden is a much smaller problem, especially the way things are going now. Anyways, Canada and USA will both have great squads.

By the way there was an interview with a swedish coach in finnish sports show last night. He was worried about sweden not producing any top talent, and he said how far ahead Finland has gone in past few years. He named Lehtonen, Ruutu and Pitkänen and said sweden simply doesnt have anything even close to their talent when it comes to players of the future, and that Finland will most likely dominate Sweden big time in the near future.

Not that we really have to wait....last time Finland and Sweden had their best teams on the ice, Finland won 2-1.

teme
01-10-2004, 10:15 AM
Slime, Filppula and others are in the lineup instead of say Miettinen because I believe they will be good enough in couple years. They are replace parts and not key players.

I agree that those Russians and Czechs look scary. Sweden is a much smaller problem, especially the way things are going now. Anyways, Canada and USA will both have great squads.
If games would be decided on paper Russians would own international hockey, but they are a permanent wild card. Unbeatable on one day, horrible on other. Czechs like Slovaks have a lot of firepower up front, but both are short on forwards with size, thoughness and skill. Slovaks and Czechs to lesser extent have trouble with quality and depth of their defence corps, same applies to goalies. Sweden? They have great core players (Forsberg, Sundin, Näslund, Lidström, Öhlund) but they are getting old (apart from Öhlund their top dman are either well over or pushing 30.) And apart from Slovakia, Swedes have the most clouded goaltending picture of the top 7 countries. To repeat, Finns are pretty solid everywhere but lack a top notch goal scorer or two. If you could do trades between national teams we would've already done Kiprusoff for Satan/Bondra/Nagy.

The point I'm trying to make is that all countries except maybe Canada and Russia are lacking in one area or another. All are beatable, ie. there is no such thing as an obvious score when two of the top 7 meet.

Chevy Cheveldae
01-11-2004, 06:36 PM
Not that we really have to wait....last time Finland and Sweden had their best teams on the ice, Finland won 2-1.

hmmm...let's just stop for a moment here

World Championships May 2003

Finland leading semifinal over Sweden 5-1 .....

remember the final score

Spiffy
01-11-2004, 06:41 PM
hmmm...let's just stop for a moment here

World Championships May 2003

Finland leading semifinal over Sweden 5-1 .....

remember the final score
A finnish team without Jere Lehtinen (and Teppo Numminen for that matter) cannot in any way be seen as the best finnish team.

psycho_dad
01-11-2004, 10:25 PM
hmmm...let's just stop for a moment here

World Championships May 2003

Finland leading semifinal over Sweden 5-1 .....

remember the final score

Yeah, I do. Those were not our best teams like someone already pointed out. Last game like that was in Nagano, and it ended 2-1 for Finland.

Chevy Cheveldae
01-12-2004, 06:11 AM
Yeah, I do. Those were not our best teams like someone already pointed out. Last game like that was in Nagano, and it ended 2-1 for Finland.

ok, i agree... let's just say that it's always exciting and even matches between the two countries

Can't wait until World Cup this autumn to see the BEST teams ....and i hope no big names will get injured

BTW ... do u think Ojanen and/or Helminen will be in the squad ?

Spiffy
01-12-2004, 08:53 AM
ok, i agree... let's just say that it's always exciting and even matches between the two countries

Can't wait until World Cup this autumn to see the BEST teams ....and i hope no big names will get injured

BTW ... do u think Ojanen and/or Helminen will be in the squad ?
I would be very surprised if Ojanen or Helminen is there (although Ojanen is still very efficient and has a good shot and Helminen looks to be in good form), Finland has quite a few options on C and look for them to pick some younger players at that position.

J.P
01-12-2004, 11:13 AM
How about Happola?

TK79
01-12-2004, 01:40 PM
I agree with your predicted lineup, but compare that to the other squads that those forwards have to play against in the Olympics 2006, and it sends shivers through your bones:

RUS: Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Kovalev, Frolov, S. Kozlov, Fedorov, Samsonov, Chistov, V.Kozlov, P. Bure, V. Bure, Yashin

CZE: Jagr, Hejduk, Havlat, Elias, Hemsky, Lang, Olesz, Bonk, Sykora, Rucinsky, Michalek, Hudler, Straka

SWE: Forsberg, Näslund, Zetterberg, Alfredsson, Sundin, Nylander, D. Sedin, H. Sedin, Steen, Sjöström, Huselius, Holmström, R. Nilsson

Put up against those names it's sad to see guys like N. Kapanen, S. Kapanen (who hardly will be able to make an impact in 2006), Filppula and J. Ruutu making the roster.

Don't you think at least Forsberg (health issues) and Nylander will have retired by then? Also Sundin and Alfredsson will be nearly 35, so they will probably have lost a step or two.Nilsson will probably not even be in the NHL yet and Steen will be a year of two away from making the team.The people on the Vancouver board don't seem to be too pleased with the Sedin sisters either. And Sweden still doesn't have a competent goalie (no, Tommy Salo just doesn't cut it anymore).

S.Kapanen will be 32 in Torino so he will still likely be the same 50 pt/season speed deamon he is now. N. Kapanen may be having a rough year, but his 35/pts and +25 last year were not a accident, he will rebound.Valtteri Filppula was just named a 1st/team all-star in the U20 WJC's, outplaying and outscoring Steen and Nilsson.The swedes got most of their points in the relegation series, while Filppula was scoring in the playoffs agaist the top countries.

I think Finland compares quite favorably with Sweden and the Czech's for Torino 2006, but on paper at least Canada and Russia are a lot stronger.

Chevy Cheveldae
01-12-2004, 03:04 PM
The people on the Vancouver board don't seem to be too pleased with the Sedin sisters either.

And Sweden still doesn't have a competent goalie (no, Tommy Salo just doesn't cut it anymore).


OK, so the Sedin twins are not having a great career so far, but they're just 23 yrs old and they will be 25 in Torino,that's nothing...... - besides, playing in North America and the Torino games will (i think) be played on big ice. .that's very different to NHL ice

And ok, so Salo won't be in Torino, but we have several good keepers in Sweden just knocking on the door to the National Team behind Salo..
Liv,Lundqvist,Henriksson,Bjurling who all are already established as starters in their teams....and in AHL we have Tellqvist, who showed at the WC that he could be Salo's successor...

psycho_dad
01-12-2004, 10:37 PM
ok, i agree... let's just say that it's always exciting and even matches between the two countries

Can't wait until World Cup this autumn to see the BEST teams ....and i hope no big names will get injured

BTW ... do u think Ojanen and/or Helminen will be in the squad ?


I agree, it's a great rivalry at least in here. One of the big driving forces of Finnish hockey and the fans. I also hope no big names get injured.

Ojanen and Helminen? Maybe Helminen has a shot but I doubt it.

md17
01-12-2004, 10:56 PM
OK, so the Sedin twins are not having a great career so far, but they're just 23 yrs old and they will be 25 in Torino,that's nothing...... - besides, playing in North America and the Torino games will (i think) be played on big ice. .that's very different to NHL ice


This is true I think. If I'd have to pick players with potential to increase their effectivenes in international ice compared to NHL, Sedins would qualify (assuming they haven't lost their 'touch' trying to adapt to different style of game). Their puck cycling skills would probably take great advantage of the increased ice surface. Just like Saku Koivu usually does, when he has that crucial bit of extra room (and time) to manouver.