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12-27-2012, 07:21 AM
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I don't think Aaltonen is a player who can be directly replaced by Leino or anyone else, but he can be replaced collectively both on and off the ice.

This team has a lot of players and a coach from Jokerit, and they're the most injury-riddled team in SM-liiga but are still in first place because they have both depth and a system that everyone knows and is able to follow. If anyone knows how to deal with a situation like this, it's them.

When it comes to off-ice leadership, we have enough leaders on the team even without Aaltonen and now they'll need to step up. Salomäki has to stop messing around and taking stupid penalties, and Ristolainen seems like a guy who can lead the team, as does Teräväinen (which was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one at that). Many members of this team have leadership qualities and this season they've had an opportunity to play with older, strong leaders which can't have hurt their development in this department.

On the ice, we have Barkov, Lehkonen and with some reservations even Teräväinen who aren't afraid to get in front of the net and deflect and bury rebounds. All of these players also have nice shots, as well as both Granlund and of course Armia. Aaltonen's a great player and although severely underrated, he doesn't possess anything that someone else in the top6 doesn't.

Aaltonen's injury does take away a lot of firepower from the 3rd line, which is why keeping Teräväinen there would be useless. Nykopp, Leino and Järveläinen make for a decent 3rd line. They won't score as much as the Teräväinen-Aaltonen duo would've, but I don't think they'll be a liability either and who knows, maybe they can score a goal or two. Yesterday it looked like Leino took Nykopp's place in the 2nd line after Aaltonen was gone, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them try that line tomorrow. I don't think it's a particularly good idea, but we'll see. At worst Leino will hog the puck like Nykopp yesterday, but hopefully Valtonen will react immediately if that happens.

So what do you guys think about match against czechs? what are your predictions?
Anything but a regulation win for Finland would be a huge failure. Don't mean to underestimate the Czechs and I'm not expecting a blowout by any means, but our team looks deeper and the defense is better.

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