Finnish Goaltenders

by Bill Meltzer
on
Finland has produced some of the NHL’s top forwards of the 1980s and 1990s, most notably Jari Kurri and Teemu Selänne. There have also been Finnish defensemen who have emerged as top-quality NHL players, ranging from Reijo Ruotsalainen to Teppo Numminen. For some reason, however, there have been very few Finnish goalies to make it to the NHL and, as yet, there has not been a single Finnish impact goalie in the NHL. Only Jarmo Myllys, Kari Takko, Jari Kaarela, and Hannu Kampurri have ever so much as started an NHL regular season game. Myllys and Takko represent the (modest) pinnacle of success that Finnish keepers have had in the NHL.

In the meantime, every other major European hockey country has produced at least one regular starting goalie in the NHL. The former Czechoslovakia developed Dominik Hasek and Roman Turek. Sweden gave us Pelle Lindbergh and Tommy Salo. Russia produced Nikolai Khabibulin (not to mention the legendary Vladislav Tretiak, who would have been an NHL star if the political climate of the time had allowed it). Moreover, even some of the lesser NHL goalies from the other European countries, such as Tommy Söderström, Mikhail Shtalenkov, and Petr Skudra, experienced NHL success that was equal or superior to the North American accomplishments of Takko and Myllys.
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Viking Cup 2000 (Finland vs Czech Rep.)

by pbadmin
on
Finland VS Czech Rep. A hard nosed big body czeching game!

1.Saku Koivu’s not-so-little brother, Mikko, plays for Finland.

2.Finland plays a hard hitting in your face type of game

3.Czech Republic also plays a hard hitting style.

4.To watch out for a player by the name of Jiri Novotny.

So I went into the game with expectations of a hard hitting affair and lots
of scoring, well at least one of those expectations was right.

The 1st period started off pretty quick. The Finns were all over the
Czechs. Hitting and checking them off of the puck but the Czechs didn’t back
down. There wasn’t much scoring during the 1st period. One goal near the end
of the period by Finland’s Toni Koivisto. In the first period, the Finns outshot the Czechs
9-8..
The 2nd period started out with a bang. 9 seconds into the 2nd frame
Semir Ben-Amor put the puck behind Czech keeper Jaroslav Hubl. But the Flyin
Fins weren’t done there. 31 seconds after that goal, Janne Jokila, Team
Finlands leading scorer, put another goal in. That spelt the end of the game
for Hubl. In came Martin Barek, who kind of reminded me of dominek hasek
with his full screen-cage helmet. The Goaltender change must’ve put a little
more gas in the tanks for the Czechs because after that they played like it Read more»

JWC – Group A Day 4

by Peter Westermark
on

For the first time in the tournament the USA came to a game with less than
100% to give. They looked sleepy-eyed to start the game and were not as good
playing a team-defense as they have been in the past. Perhaps it is a needed
reality check for the Americans – they won’t beat opposing teams on skill,
but they can do it, and do it good, with a committed team effort. That being
said, the smallish Finns also came out with more jump than they had against
Canada and Slovakia as they faced a must-win situation. Finland switched
goalie from Antero Niitymäki (Philadelphia) to Ari Ahonen, a New Jersey
Devils firstrounder, and Ahonen looked very good under pressure. He made the
saves when the Finns needed it the most, although he wasn’t called upon to
make big saves until the Finns were ahead 3-0 in the third. The Finns also
got a good game from big defenseman Ossi Vännänen (Phoenix) who used his
body well and showed that he can make a very good first pass and unleash a
good one-timer from the blueline. Up front, smallish speedy 17-year old
Teemu Laine had a good game creating chances offensively along with tricky
forward Tomek Valtonen, drafted by the Red Wings. Valtonen scored the vital
first Finnish goal on a nice high wrist-shot. Centers Riku Hahl (Colorado)
and Mikko Kaukokari are dependable performers aswell, although they showed
little flash.

The Americans aren’t that skilled offensively when you get past Jeff Taffe Read more»

Rinkside Reflections (Canada-Finland)

by Lasse Johansson
on

The first World Junior Championship game I ever witnessed live
was the encounter between Finland and Canada on Christmas Day. My hopes for the
game were extremely high, but were tainted a bit by the absence of candians John Erskine, Ross Lupaschuk, Ramzi Abid, Kris Beech and Michael Henrich, players I had been looking forward to seeing. Canada finally won the game 3-2 (1-0 2-0 0-2) after a strong third period by the finns. The result was probably a bit unfair, as Finland was the better of the two teams, but Team Canada played a solid defensive game and didn’t allow the finns to score in the first two periods despite numerous power play opportunities. I was dissapointed by the power-play efforts from both of the two teams, especially the finnish power play. They didn’t create any serious goal-scoring opportunities in the second period, despite almost three minutes 5 on 3.

Prospect report:

Team Canada:

#30 Maxime Ouellet G – Maxime displayed a solid performance, the two finnish goals came from goal-mouth scrambles and was not his fault. Good positional play throughout the game.

#3 Jay Bouwmeester D – I had high hopes about for the very first time seeing the two canadian 16-year olds Bouwmeester and Spezza. Jay didn’t have much ice time, but he showed up a solid play with very few mistakes

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Go West Young Man! – An Interview with Jere Kolari

by pbadmin
on

I recently had a chance to interview Jere Kolari, a Finnish, Kuopio born player who is now chasing his dream in WHL playing for the Lethbrigde Hurricanes. Usually it’s players from Russia, Slovakia and Czech reb. who want to make the jump to North-American junior hockey. The Finns and Swedes have traditionally chosen to play in their own junior leagues. Jere made a bold move this past year and left hometown Kuopio. He was drafted in the 1st round of 1999 import draft. This year he’s been plagued with various injuries (concussion, knee) in the preseason.

Let’s hear what Jere has to say about this upcoming season and his future:

Question (by Zika): So tell us about yourself? Who are you?

Answer (by Jere Kolari): I’m Jere Kolari, born in the 11th of February 1982. I’m 6’1 tall and weigh 180 pounds. I play hockey as a centerman/winger and I shoot right handed.

Q: So when did you start playing hockey?

A: I was about 7 years old, the reason, was that all my friends played it and it was so fun.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a hockey player?

A: Well my strength is that I have a good shot and hockey sense, but obviously there’s still a lot of work I need to do on all areas to improve my game. I really should improve my skating.

Q: How has your hockey career been so far?

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