I have to admit that I don´t know anything about Michalek, but even if I did, I´d still pick Tuomo.
Seriously, as I´ve said here before, Tuomo is the greatest person and friend one could ever have, and he´s an incredible athlete as well. Everything he does, he goes at it 100%, like fullmetalninja said.
Whether it was school, soccer or hockey, it´s always been a joy to watch him closely. The determination is unbelievable, yet he manages to stay as a "normal" relaxed person all the time. He´s always the one with a smile on his face.
As a player he possesses so much talent, that with his mentality he will certainly become a key-player for his team in the future. He won´t mix into the gray mass, he´ll stand out for being a great player, who always gives the game his everything.
What everyone overlooks in Ruutu is that he has a world class work ethic. He refuses to be average.
Next time you watch him- watch how many pucks he deflects around the net. Then go read at how he never did it in the finnish league at all, saying that it wasn't part of the game.
He practices after practice deflecting pucks- every day. Because he has seen how successful that is in the NHL. Other than Calder, there isn't anyone better on the team at it now.
This is what Ruutu brings to the table. And why he will just get better and better.
I'm also firmly in the camp that we won't see the real Ruutu until he gets an offseason to get into NHL condition. That is the biggest thing about his knee. It still hasn't been a year since he tore it up...
I haven't seen enough about Michalek to comment on who's better.. But I can tell you this: the people that are dogging Ruutu all the time, will eat their words. The kid is a winner- and plays hockey as it should be played. What will he top out as... nobody knows. If I had to guess he'll be a 55-70 pt guy who will be as physical as anyone on the ice.
Great, great post. Its obvious you really enjoy watching this guy play. I had a chance to watch him play last night vs. the aves, and he really stands out as a hard working player. Heres to his suscess.