Finland head coach Raimo Helminen has his team focused after a first-game blowout loss to Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship. Helminen’s charges took the next step at this tournament with an 8-5 quarter-final win over Slovakia.
Helminen spoke with the media following his team’s win.
Nineteen-year-old goalie Frans Tuohimaa was one of two Finnish goalies selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2011 NHL Draft. The Jokerit prospect was selected in the seventh round (182nd overall) while Samu Perhonen, who played for JyP's junior club as well as Finland's U-18 team at the World Junior Championships, was selected in the third (62nd overall). Both recently attended the Oilers' July prospects camp but unfortunately Perhonen was sick for much of the camp. Hockey's Future recently caught up with Tuohimaa to get some feedback on his first experience as an NHL prospect.
Hockey's Future: Did you have a chance to talk to either Teemu Hartikainen or Toni Rajala (two other Finnish players in the Edmonton system) about the Oilers before you came to camp and did they give you any advice? Read more»
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. Read more»
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»
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»