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04-20-2013, 05:40 AM
Mr. Know-It-Nothing
Join Date: Oct 2009
Country: Finland
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Originally Posted by Gaps View Post
I certainly hope Kousa does not make the final cut if he plays the way he has so far this season. I'm also not convinced by Laakso at all and he seems to be prone to stupid penalties, but he's getting another chance too.
Agreed, on both counts. Unless both improve drastically on EHT, Mäenpää-Hietanen-Lepistö-Lajunen should be the OD foursome, and Väänänen-Kukkonen-Jalasvaara-Melart the DD corps.

Originally Posted by Gaps View Post
It's good that Kontiola's injury isn't a serious one, but he's probably not 100%. We also have yet to see if he can handle the job he's going to get. He's never had a big role in the NT before. Last year he was the 4th line center who had no pressure, making it easier for him to exceed expectations. He's not going to have that luxury this year. He's in better shape this year, but I'm still skeptical.
Your memory fails you. Kontiola was the 2C in 2010 WHC, and clocked big minutes. Although arguably another year of a relatively no-name team given the proximity of the olympics, he was our best centre by far back then (out of foursome of Immonen-Kontiola-Hytönen-Santala).

He couldn't contend for 2011 team due to injury. In last year's preliminaries he was again putting out the best performance, but because we had the luxury of seeing the wholesome of the gold-winning trio of Koivu-Immonen-Kapanen return, he had no realistic means of surpassing any of them. Picking him for 4C despite not being the archetypal player for the role was obviously due to Jalonen realizing that he'd be shafting the guy royally if he just cut him, despite clearly being slated to favor the guys from the golden spring.

But all in all, your lack of faith on him is misplaced. He's very much a proven performer and well worth the nod. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the injury's going to hamper him or not - but right now the team's far better off with him in it than without.

Originally Posted by Gaps View Post
Then we have Viitaluoma who I don't think is capable of being a good 2nd line center on this level. Ramstedt wasn't a better choice. It's looking like Jalonen will go for two offensive and two defensive centers. That is a bit of a strange choice because he has at least three lines worth of offensive wingers.
Yeah, it's highly unusual to see a guy like Viitaluoma contend for 2C. He should really be nowhere near the job. But this is simply if we consider the fact he isn't a very high-profile player and measure it against our expectations.

The thing is, he has drastically overperformed for someone who was slated to be a filler guy. The true test still lies ahead of course, but he has managed to up the expectations somewhat. As of right now, I'm not expecting him to be anything flashy, but given what I've seen this far, I think doing a somewhat reliable job isn't out of his ballpark.

But overall, the situation with the centres is far from ideal. Out of the current contenders, Kontiola-Viitaluoma-Wirtanen-Lahti would be my preferred picks, but given how prominently Hytönen has featured this far, he might just slink in there somewhere. I dunno what it is, but I've always had an aversion towards him. Objectively thinking, he was actually pretty reliable as 3C in both 2009 and 2010, but that also seems to be about the upper limit of what he can do. He just sort of hangs on in there, but never ups the ante, even a little bit. Maybe my dislike towards him comes from the fact that Dufva was in the coaching staff in both those years, and the pick of Hytönen stinks so much of favoritism, given his skillset is perfectly interchangeable with so many other guys out there.

While Ramstedt was doing no favors for himself, I do feel that by cutting him, Jalonen deliberately made the ice he's currently skating on even thinner than it already was. Viitaluoma, regardless of his decent performance this far is an unproven one, and Kontiola may or may not be 100%. Either Jalonen's really going for one hell of a hail mary here, or he must have some kind of contingency plan. I still hold on to my prediction that we see a centre added from the finals. Koskiranta is the main suspect, but Niemi might come to question as well. Not that either of them are going to be any kind of upgrades over what we currently have, but adding one will still give him more options going forward.

Originally Posted by Gaps View Post
Sounds like Jormakka thinks he should make the team. I don't think he's skilled enough despite his good skating and I certainly don't know where he'd even fit. Maybe as an extra forward?
I take it you refer to this story:

C'mon, there's nothing there but usual jargon you'd expect from a player when he's being interviewed. What should he say? "Yeah, no way in hell I'll make the cut. Too many guys ahead of me who are more prominent." It might be true, but no way you're going to hear any player say it out loud.

But I agree, it's hard to see where he features. Pesonen and Aaltonen have not been abysmal - far from it, in fact - and have more experience. Salminen and Osala are relative newcomers but still appear more slated to make it. Pihlström's a no-brainer at this point and despite Hagman's struggles, he still comes up as a reliable depth pick. Then there's Savinainen whom the consensus seems to agree upon on being the one pick from the finals. Any NHLer is of course going to add to the depth. Though if none show up, there is arguably still at least one slot open. After all, I only listed seven guys who might be higher up in the contention and there are at least eight regular wingers in any given team as we well know.

But I don't see what's the particular aversion towards him making it. A highly energetic forward is putting up a solid showing, and he's also a young one - born in the 90s. By all accounts we should be rooting for him instead of thinking he does not have what it takes. A good comparison, age and statuswise, could be Leo Komarov at this same time in the spring of 2009. Which should be enough to make us conclude that there's in fact far more room for improvement than with most of the contenders.

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