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12-10-2012, 03:14 AM
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Ilari Filppula has truly been great this season. I remember he started the season pretty slowly as did the whole Jokerit team because of suspensions and injuries. But after Valtteri Filppula joined the team, Ilari really picked up his game. Filppula-Filppula-Moses was an amazing line but it was the only line generating offense, so the two brothers were separated. Now the first line has been Teräväinen-I. Filppula-Moses and even the powerplay has started working wonderfully after Jokerit started placing two guys to the front of the net. And of course there is Erik Karlsson also on the blueline... Pretty much the best first line and powerplay unit currently in the league in my mind. But I'm a Jokerit follower and watch all of their games so I don't see other teams too regularly.

Ilari was also called up for the EHT for Finland but he was a fourth line center in 2 games and scratched in one. Saw some powerplay time only on the last game of the tournament. He did not impress but he had played some heavy minutes in the SM-league because still at that time, Jokerit was mainly a one line team. Now they are starting to fire on all cylinders and the first line does not have to play 20 minutes a game or even over. But still on EHT he seemed kinda slowish and lost physical battles against opposing D. Which was kinda odd because he's great along the boards and hanging onto the puck in the FEL plus has a decent amount of speed and is very elusive. Handled his defensive duties alright though. Hopefully he'll get called up for another EHT tournament and given regular PP-time and maybe some decent linemates.

But I don't think that Ilari is going to come to NA anymore. He's already 31. One has to think that if he's going somewhere from Jokerit, it's the KHL. Not ride the bus in the AHL for less money than he currently makes or would make in the KHL. Having said that, he's definitely a better player than two-three years ago. Has improved his shooting quite a bit. Has one-timed several slapshots this year from the hashmarks and made himself a more bigger threat.

His last season was a modest one in Jokerit, 44GP 10+21. But the whole team sucked and the top scorers had only around 35 points. This year they have a good game plan which involves a lot of puck control and Ilari has a good linemate in Steve Moses and vice versa.

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