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02-02-2013, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Helsinki
Country: Finland
Posts: 26
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My first message ever on HFBoards. There are two good reasons for becoming active now.

1. Sami Vatanen has played all of his career for my favorite team JYP Jyväskylä. But, unfortunately we lost him over the ocean. He really became one of the favorites of JYP fans during those years. So if we want to follow his games now we have to begin to follow the NHL also.

2. After reading this hilarious Vatanism thread I got a feeling that I have to explain why some of my fellow countrymen are behaving in such a weird way.

So let's explain. Since his debut on Finnish elite league (SM-liiga) in 2009 Sami has been the top Finnish prospect with Mikael Granlund. Actually, he was even a bit better than Granlund always. Nevertheless, since that it has looked like Granlund was born a silver spoon in his mouth compared to Vatanen. Sami played great IIHF World Championships in 2010 but the next year he got a serious injury and did not participate in Germany 2011. But, even a bigger catastrophe for his career was his injury next year. The Championships were played on home ice in Finland 2012. And Sami looked like this and could not walk without crutches.

Meanwhile Mikael Granlund scored the biggest goal ever in Finnish ice hockey history - the Ilmaveivi. The goal which is one the most beautiful in the history of IIHF World Championships.

Finnish media forgot Sami after that. There was only Granlund. But the JYP fans (and hockey specialists) did not forget Sami. They all know that the kid is the best Finnish 1991-1994 prospect with Granlund. Or at least he is that on large European rinks.

It is somewhat weird to see Finnish NHL defencemen like Toni Lydman, Joni Pitkänen, Kimmo Timonen and Sami Salo having a brilliant career there and at the same time think that Sami is not yet there. He is better known nowadays here than those veteran NHLers and many fans have simply seen him dominating our domestic league more than any of those guys. He was simply better here.

Sami was drafted to NHL one year before he really began to flourish. That is maybe also the reason for not drafting him on 1st round. In 2009 he was among many other young talented players. In 2010 he was the top prospect.

But, those who follow ice hockey closely and those who understand what does it means to move abroad - all those understand that even with that history you are not an obvious NHL star.

For many ice hockey fans here you do not need to be an NHL star to be the best player ever. Take Raimo Helminen or Petteri Nummelin. For many Finnish hockey fans they belong to the same club of stars like Teemu Selänne, Jari Kurri and Saku Koivu even if their NHL career was very short.

For some fans it is hard to understand why a star would play in a "lower level leagues" like AHL when you could play also in KHL, SM-liiga or in some of the other European top leagues. It is hard for us to believe if some people tell that he was not playing "that well" in Norfolk. How is it possible? Our big star - playing with amateurs, and not dominating? Come back home.

I just hope that Sami continues to be humble with the crazy Jyväskylä expectations of him becoming the best NHL defender in his first games.

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