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01-28-2012, 10:38 AM
Mr. Know-It-Nothing
Join Date: Oct 2009
Country: Finland
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Originally Posted by Needles View Post
Well, Mäenpää was the captain so maybe we should? IIRC, he lost his man many times and was heavily criticized by Canal's studio. Especially Mika Kortelainen.

I don't think you should put too much weight on numbers though. Mikko Lehtonen was of fire last year in Elitserien. He was scoring goals left and right. But he sucked at EHT and that was it. Same can happen to Mäenpää. Let's wait and see.
I'd still say one three-game tournament isn't enough to put much weight on his total value, captain or not. Especially since the forementioned system is quite different from what they used last time Mäenpää donned the national jersey and could take some time to adopt.

Lehtonen isn't a comparable example (at least yet) since he had a chance to show his worth in a total of three EHTs over one season, and pretty much tanked in them all. So yeah. Right now, Mäenpää's in contention but you're right, we need to see more of him to call him a staple.

Originally Posted by Needles View Post
In Jalonen's system, you need 4 PP defensemen and 4 PK defensemen. Mäenpää is an offensive dman, there's no question about that. Right now (IMO) Vatanen and Niskala are the best finnish (offensive) dmen in Europe. Two spots left, right? Then there's Anssi Salmela, a world champion. I find it very unlikely that Jalonen would select Mäenpää over Salmela. There's one spot left and Mäenpää has to compete against guys like Heikkinen & Kousa, who were clearly better in Moscow. Then there's wildcards like Nummelin and Pitkänen, so it doesn't look very good for Mäenpää.
Jalonen has no single system. Instead it's quite dependent on the material he has available. Last year he said he wanted to use them because not all the players were used to big minutes on this level and he didn't want to exhaust them. Between the lines, that pretty much reads he was full aware that some of his guys were prone to mental relapses and wanted to minimize them happening by evening out the TOI.

Last year our top pair, Salmela-Lepistö consisted of fringe players in their club teams who ought to have considered themselves lucky if they saw ten minutes of ice a night. Välivaara was and is a 2nd tier pick so Niskala was pretty much the only one capable of pulling big nights.
It was more a happenstance than anything else that Jalonen decided to ice that 4OD + 4DD combo. If he has other big-nighters available this time round, he might go back to three-pair-rotation. Yeah, I'm mainly thinking NHL guys like Pitkänen or Timonen (and Vatanen, Niskala in Europe) but Mäenpää currently averages 25 minutes a night in Amur so he's got that running for him.

Salmela is nothing overly special offensively, world champ or not. Still, he's able to hold his ground on WHC level and is actually more multipurpose compared to Mäenpää which I certainly consider advantageous. But if you need someone to fill a pure OD role, they're head-to-head in my book.

It's funny how lengthy this debate got considering I simply mentioned Mäenpää as somebody who is merely an option, not somebody who should get a ticket right now. He certainly isn't in that group I figure looks (realistically) ideal at the moment. That consists of Pitkänen, Lydman, Niskala, Vatanen, Väänänen, Puistola and Salmela (I'm sorry, Jere). NHL/AHL playoffs might bring even more guys such as Lepistö and Laakso into contention. And in case of not getting some of those seven, there's a good group of 2nd tier d-men to pick from, Mäenpää among them. Not a forerunner by any means but still not someone to be snubbed over lightly, at least not yet.

Last edited by FiLe: 01-28-2012 at 10:43 AM.
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