KARJALA CUP REVIEW
The Swedish top league Elitserien resumed play again yesterday after a shorter break because of the Karjala Cup in Finland, in which the Swedes finished last. The Finns won the tournament. They also had the most interesting team from an NHL viewpoint in the tournament as their team consisted of several good prospects, while the others just had a few.
The four brightest prospects on Finlands team, were in order:
LA Kings prospect Aki Berg who impressed with solid defensive play as well as good play with the puck. He scored 1 goal, was a plus 2, and recorded 8 PIM in three games in the tourament.
Vancouver Canucks rugged winger Jarkko Ruutu who scored 1 goal and 1 assist, and was a plus three in the tournament, with 4 PIM. This should be the last season in Europe for Ruutu, as he is ready to make the jump. The physical tools are there, and he seems to me to be quite consistent and he also has a mean streak which will only help him in Vancouver.
Jere Karalathi, drafted by the LA Kings, who seems to have rebounded from an off-season injury nicely. He scored 1 goal and 1 assist, was a +2, and recorded no penalty minutes.
Calgary Flames draftee Toni Lydman who was at his usual self with a physical style of play, and solid defense. He recorded no points and finished a -2 for the tournament. Lydman should also be in his last season in Europe. With the Flames losing Ryan Bast to Philadelphia and with Jamie Allison traded to Chicago, the organization needs some new young defensemen to fill their shoes. Among the Europeans, Lydman and Russian Dmitri Kokorev are probably at the top of the list. Dmitri Riabykin should also have a shot at getting a contract.
The Swedes played poorly throughout the tournament, and their team didn’t consist of as many good NHL-prospects. Players worth noting consisted of Edvin Frylen, a 22-year old defenseman drafted by the St.Louis Blues, got his first goal in a Tre Kronor-uniform in the tournament. He seems to be enjoying a breakthrough season this year. He is quite big at 6’1, 211 pounds and ejoys the physical side of the game.
Avs prospect C Samuel Påhlsson had a so-so tournament with one assist in three games and a -2 rating to go with that.
AIK defenseman Dick Tärnström, drafted by the Islanders, is another defenseman making some headlines this season. He didn’t record any points in the tournament, but he has displayed an increased willingness to join the offense with his clubteam AIK, and he has matured into a leader on their defense. He is listed at 6-0, 180.
The top nine in Scoring were as follows: (from official Finnish Hockey site)
1. Anders Huusko, SWE, 3-3-0-3
2. Marko Tuomainen, FIN, 3-3-0-3
3. Juha Riihijärvi, FIN, 3-2-1-3
4. Pavel Patera, CZE, 3-1-2-3
5. Jari Kauppila, FIN, 3-1-2-3
6. Sergei Petrenko, RUS, 3-1-2-3
7. Aleksandr Barkov,RUS, 3-1-2-3
8. Martin Prochazka,CZE, 3-1-2-3
9. Petteri Nummelin,FIN, 3-0-3-3