Finnish Preseason Game: Kärpät v. Jokerit

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Kärpät beat Jokerit, a Finnish Elite League team, 4-2 (1-0 1-1 2-1). Goals were scored by Martin Bergeron (2), Mikko Haapakoski, and Niklas Hagman. Goals for Jokerit were scored by Jari Kauppila and Jukka Tiilikainen. The referee’s kind of spoiled the game, by giving penalties for every touch. One goal by Niklas Hagman was called back without a clear reason.

Ten prospects from these teams:

Goaltenders:
Antti Kangas (stats not available at the moment)
Comments: Big goalie, good in blocking shots and glove hand is pretty strong too.

Defensemen:
Lasse Kukkonen (no stats available at the moment) Didn’t seen him play.
Mikko Lehtonen (junior:games 22, goals 7, assists 8, points 15, penalty minutes 51, +13, kärpät: games 2, goals 0, assists 0, points 0, penalty minutes 5, +1)
Comments:Good skater… is very aware of offense… knows when to take risk and joins the attack well. Strong defensively too… doesn’t get outplayed. He is going to be big in the future.

Jaako Niskavaara (kärpät: games 35, goals 13, assists 24, points 37, penalty minutes 48, +29)
Comments: Hard and accurate shot, very offensive defensemen, not very strong in own end. Makes too many mistakes. Has an excellent shot and is very good on the power play.

Sami Siltavirta (kärpät: games 45, goals 1, assists 6, points 7, penalty minutes 79, +17)
Comments: Big tough defensemen… No one goes around him, and he’s a really good hitter. Good in penalty killing, and strong in front of his own net.
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Finnish Draft Review 1999

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The 1999 draft is over and the first round was as European as expected. From a Finnish point of view this draft went surprisingly well – 18 Finns got drafted. It’s a quite high number when you compare it to previous years.

There’s this interesting trend going on in Finland: 1990s has been the decade of hockey in Finland. Hockey is no longer sports, it’s entertainment business and a legitimate career option to young boys. The number of young hockey players is going up all the time and with Jari’s, Teemu’s and Jere’s example every kid wants to make it in the NHL one day.

Ten years ago there were no hockey agents in Finland, now there are plenty of them. Our junior national teams, (especially our U18 team), have been very succesful in last 5 years. Still only 2 goalies (Ahonen, Jokela), 2 D-men (Harikkala, Kesä) and 2 forwards (Salmelainen, Hyytiä) got drafted from this year’s U18 gold medal team. Coach Jouko Lukkarila said ”we don’t play for the scouts, we play to win.”

A new trend is that players who really haven’t been noticed by national team coaches get drafted now (Sainomaa, Ruutu, Rajamäki). It indicates that NHL team scout more and more European players and they have now full time scouts following the European junior leagues and not just elite players at international tournaments as they used to do.

Here are the Finnish players who got drafted: Read more»