Things happened quicker than I ever thought it would happen,
A short review from the latest…
…. The World championship 2013 in hockey ended less than a week ago. The most of you hockey fans know that Sweden became the first team who won the tournament as WC organizers since 1986. Soviet Union achieved gold in Moscow then. But now is that “curse” broken until next and coming years, which told that a home team couldn’t win the WC when they arrange the tournament.
Swiss ended up with silver medal this year and USA achieved the bronze after defeating my team Finland in the shoot out game. Some of you remember that Alex Galchenyuk was the shoot out hero for the US team. With other words: Finland, Suomi, the roaring lions…unfortunately hit the fourth place thanks to dear Alex.
That was Jukka Jalonen’s last game as head coach for the “lion’s”. He’ll hand over the task to Erkka Westerlund, who has been head chief before, but now is back for a year and will be lead the team over the Sochi Olympics. I’ll talk more about that later on. Although, I find it worth mention that Jalonen brought Finland to WC gold 2011 in Bratislava, Slovakia. That was the second gold for Finland in history. First time they ever won a WC tournament was the year1995 in Stockholm.
Well, for this tournament 2013 I have to say that Finland’s Road towards the semifinals in the tournament was quite bumpy. I think that no one will disagree.
The best game during the tournament they did was against Russia when they won 3-2. It was the Finland I use to know, a hard working and tactical skilled team. Other games gave me only questions…what was I really looking at?
However, that’s past now. There’s a future and we know that things use to move on, change, develop etc. by time. And things have changed for sure on the transfer market.
To let you my dear readers get this straight:
Rumors before told about the goalie Antti Raanta, from the team Ässät from Pori in the Finnish league: SM-liiga and Petri Kontiola (Traktor Chelyabinsk, KHL) who won WC’s goal scoring league this year were on their way to the best league in the world, NHL. After the tournament I was asked by people if I heard anything about trades, that players from the Finnish team moving on to the NHL and whom I though they’d draft.
To be honest I was quite unsure if “they” would pick any one at all after seeing Finland’s and the player’s performance over all during the tournament.
But it did happen!
Ilari Melart, from Helsinki IFK, signed for Columbus Blue Jackets! That’s a surprise if anything. But it’s a very nice such. I have seen Ilari play for Helsinki IFK (short: HIFK) during the latest season and he has been one of the most important players for sure. And he did a good WC tournament as well, in the meaning that he did what he is capable to do.
He has muscles enough and he annoys the opponents 80% of the games. So, my spontaneous first thought, that Columbus and Jarmo Kekäläinen brought him over seas, to have someone who can make it very difficult for the other teams superstars.
I can’t – no matter how much I wish – see that he’s in the team for scoring even if he might hit the net once in awhile during the season. My guess at the moment where Columbus might put him would be a 3rd-4th line.
If Ilari’s technical skills will improve?
Yes, actually I’d like to think that it would improve a lot. Because the game in NHL is some times way much faster (smaller rink) than it can be over here in Europe, by that he has the chance to practice his reaction ability and let the puck go when it suppose to leave the stick. That’s why I think at the moment he has every opportunity he possible can have to make the NHL visit longer than just a year.
I wish Ilari Melart good luck to this new step in his career. Live the dream!
Also I wish Jarmo Kekäläinen all the best as GM for Columbus Blue Jackets. I am sure that he will have a successful time. He’s the right man on right place. No doubt about that. I know that he did more than a good job for Jokerit, also from Helsinki.
Note that Raanta or Kontiola might end up in NHL anyway later on.
Me who write this,
I am Arto Palovaara, writing about Finnish hockey for the world wide known betting company Betsafe (in Swedish). I am going to present for you dear reader’s a Finnish point of view about our beloved game: hockey, the best game in the world.
That means that I cover the National league of Finland: SM-liiga also the gentlemen national team and U20. There might be space for U18, U16 and the ladies national team as well. SM-liiga is the same league where former NHL-stars like Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Jyrki Lumme and Teppo Numminen come from. Nowadays the stars are Mikko Koivu, Jesse Joensuu and Mikael Granlund for example and a bunch of goaltenders that comes from there. Yes, Finland has a goaltender factory more or less.
Other stories from Finland and about Finnish ice hockey will be brought from the second league called “Mestis” or from other forums connected to Finnish Ice hockey.
I am actually for the most located in Stockholm, Sweden where I live and work at the moment, but I have also residence in Finland, both in the northern Finland and South Finland where I use to go from time to time.
This is just a short presentation about me and who I am. More information I will give you later on when I present the Finnish teams in SM-liiga. But I thought it would be a good idea to write all this above when it was known that Ilari Melart from Finland is going to play for Columbus Blue Jackets next season.
Now we will let the big guys in NHL have their Stanley cup show first. Enjoy the games.
/Arto Palovaara, about SM-liiga and Finland
from Arena Kalevala at Betsafe.
The Finnish SM-liiga logo
The logo of the Finnish national team