2014 WJC Video: Esa Lindell, Finland

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Esa Lindell - Team Finland

Photo: Jokerit defenseman and Dallas Stars prospect Esa Lindell is competing for Finland at the 2014 U20 World Juniors after narrowly missing out on earning a berth on last year’s squad (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After competing with a more experienced squad at last year's World Junior Championship, a performance that featured decidedly more offense than one might expect from Finland, the Finns entered the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden with a squad that is largely getting their feet wet at the Under-20 level.

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2014 WJC Preview: Major pieces missing from Finland squad heading to Malmo

by Tony Piscotta
on

Julius Honka  - Team Finland

Photo: If Finland is to generate offense at the 2014 World Junior Championship, then Swift Current Broncos’ defenseman and 2014 prospect Julius Honka will likely be a major contributor to that effort (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2014 U20 World Junior Championship will be a very different experience for Finland on several fronts.

In past tournaments, the strength of Finland's team has been the cohesion gained by playing several years together and then competing as a group in Finland's second league, Mestis, during the Fall.

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Productive summer for Ilves’ Kolppanen leads to improved play in 2013-14

by Tony Piscotta
on

Ville Kolppanen - Ilves

Photo: Ilves Tampere goaltender Ville Kolppanen is currently among the top netminders in Liiga, Finland’s top league (courtesy of Ilves Tampere)

After finishing last in the SM-Liiga in three of the past four seasons, Ilves got off to a fast start this season and is challenging for a spot in the re-christened Liiga's 10-team playoffs. While the Tampere-based club has cooled off a bit recently, a big part of the team's turnaround can be attributed to the play of 21-year-old goalie, Ville Kolppanen.

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SM-liiga 2013-14 season preview, part 2

by Tony Piscotta
on
Miro Aaltonen - Finland

Photo: Anaheim Ducks prospect Miro Aaltonen suffered a borken ankle at the 2013 WJC, but managed to return for playoff action with Espoo’s U20 squad where he picked up 13 points in eight games (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

In the first part of this preview, HF looked at seven of the 14 teams that are competing in Finland's SM-liiga for the 2013-14 season. In this second part, we look at the remaining seven teams taking part in Finland's top hockey league with an emphasis on the NHL prospects for each club (number in parentheses indicates number of players whose rights are held by an NHL team).

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SM-liiga 2013-14 season preview, part 1

by Tony Piscotta
on
Juuse Saros - Finland

Photo: Nashville Predators goaltending prospect Juuse Saros, shown here competing at the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY, will be part of young and talented group of goaltenders playing for HPK Hameenlinna in the SM-liiga in 2013-14 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

The 2012-13 season in Finland's SM-Liiga was interesting, to say the least.

With an influx of NHL players early in the season due to the NHL lockout, the level of play was higher than in recent years. When those players returned to their NHL clubs, the remainder of the season saw several teams which had not had much success recently in the thick of things.

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