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07-24-2013, 06:23 PM
Mr. Know-It-Nothing
Join Date: Oct 2009
Country: Finland
Posts: 2,925
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Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
I disagree, I followed Chelyabinsk's games quite a bit because of Nichushkin and during the KHL play-offs Kontiola played the best hockey I've seen from him, he was the top guy on his team. His good form continued then to the World Championships.
Kontiola has been a solid performer at least since the 2009-2010 season, and judging by the games I've seen from him since, he's been the force we saw this spring waiting to get loose since then. There's just always been more established names blanketing him, both in NT and his club team(s). In last spring's preliminary games, Kontiola actually outplayed Koivu, Immonen and Kapanen at times, but thanks to the status of those three, he had no realistic shot at usurping any of them when the final slots were dealt out.

Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
Kontiola was a 4th line centre for a clear majority of last year's World Championship's. When did you actually see him play wing and what made you think he did a bad job playing that position?
Those preliminary games preceding last year's WHC. With Konna doing so well, it was obvious that Jalonen had guilty conscience for the locked down slots of Koivu, Immonen and Kapanen. First he tried to make him a scoring winger. Didn't pan out. Then he was settled for the 4C role, which was far from ideal, but still a better fit. Definitely better than the message that would have been sent had he been cut altogether. Jesse Joensuu sure says thanks.

The bottom line: There was no jump this spring, he just only now got a chance to showcase what he can do. And if he wasn't able to play wing a year ago, he hasn't developed any extra skills out of thin air. Especially when playing center all the time.

Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
Barkov has a diesel motor just like Mikko Koivu, I'd be very surprised to see him at wing, especially considering what he brings to the table on the central lane.
In the NHL, the line between wing and center is far more murky than in Europe. Kontiola is a big ice centre through and through, whereas Barkov is projected to play in a more mixed-lane environment. So that makes him a slightly better fit for wing than Kontiola. Not that I want to see either of them at wing. We should have more suitable guys for that if everyone is healthy. Like Granlund.

Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
Well, at this year's World Championship's our 4th line was Hagman-Hytönen-Haataja in some games, that was almost the opposite to heavy grinding. If guys like Komarov and Bergenheim make two thirds of the 4th line, there's room to throw one Granlund in there. And I had Joensuu as a 13th forward, which means roles could be changed depending on the opponent or the situation.
It's not exactly an aversion. Hytönen is an archetypal Finnish 4C and Hagman was doing a veteran player role shift not so odd for him, given his playstyle. Haataja was there because he was a mispick from the start but Jalonen couldn't oust him because he was holding out roster spots for possible NHL reinforcements. Once that situation sorted out, far more suitable Anttila became a 4th line fixture and Haataja ended up in the pressbox.

We can be fairly certain such a situation won't repeat itself come February, since olympics are not exactly a tournament where one would have to resort to filling your roster with cheap substitutes. Save for extremely crappy luck with injuries, of course.

Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
Granlund's play in NHL this past season makes me believe that he's not a lock for top-6 yet, you of course have the right to disagree. Plus, I was expecting a bit more for him during the last two World Championship's.
Currently we have only three players who are very much locked down for top-six: M.Koivu, T.Ruutu and Filppula. Granlund is slightly lower tier than those three, but no worse than the rest of the top-six candidates. And he brings a guaranteed skillset that shouldn't be ignored. Maybe calling him a surefire lock is out of the question, but he should be one of the very first options considered when filling out the rest of the top-six. Especially since the games will be on big ice.

And Granlund was quite underwhelming at 2012 WHC, but he was a late addition this spring and obviously had to acclimatization problems - and yet managed to be a solid addition. He actually played better than expected in my book. Which is why I'm so insistent on ignoring his NHL troubles. It was very solid proof that the kid is elite caliber as a big ice asset.

Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
I agree that Barkov has more to prove than Granlund, and there's still a good chance he won't make the team. I mentioned in my first post that the roster I posted is "perhaps a bit unrealistic", but Barkov is one of the players I'd really like to see at the Olympics. I'd much rather watch young upcoming talents, than guys who are clearly past their prime.
I can actually see Barkov making the roster - as 4C. He has the necessary skillset suited for that, and there aren't too many more established options.

Our center situation IMO:

1C: M.Koivu
2C: OJ - if he finds a good form again. If not, Kontiola.
3C: S.Koivu - or possibly some KHLer if one plays too good to ignore.
4C: S.Koivu in case we have better options for top-three. If not, Kapanen is an option, but I could totally see Barkov overtaking him if he clocks stable NHL minutes.

Last edited by FiLe: 07-24-2013 at 06:35 PM.
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