A lot about hockey these days despite that it is July. Well, the teams are announcing their names for the Sochi Olympics. Finland and Erkka Westerlund have announced the preliminary squad for awhile ago. Here are the names of the lion squad:

Goalkeepers:
Niklas Bäckström,Kari Lehtonen,Antti Niemi,Antti Raanta,Tuukka Rask,Pekka Rinne Kari Rämö,Petri Vehanen

Defencemen:
Juuso Hietanen,Topi Jaakola,Joonas Järvinen,Jere Karalahti,Lasse Kukkonen,Teemu Laakso, Sami Lepistö,Toni Lydman,Tuukka Mäntylä,Janne Niskala,Petteri Nummelin,Joni Pitkänen,Sami Salo,Kimmo Timonen,Sami Vatanen,Ossi Väänänen

Forwards:
Juhamatti Aaltonen,Aleksander Barkov,Sean Bergenheim,Valtteri Filppula,Mikael Granlund,Niklas Hagman,Teemu Hartikainen,Juha-Pekka Hytönen,Jarkko Immonen,Jesse Joensuu,Jussi Jokinen,Olli Jokinen,Niko Kapanen,Mikko Koivu,Saku Koivu,Leo Komarov,Petri Kontiola,Lauri Korpikoski,Jarno Koskiranta,Jori Lehterä,Ville Leino,Antti Miettinen,Janne Pesonen,Lennart Petrell,Antti Pihlström,Jarkko Ruutu,Tuomo Ruutu,Sakari Salminen,Veli-Matti Savinainen,Teemu Selänne

Of course it is very interesting that Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen (Olli) might be there again, despite that all three said that they were done with the national team after the last Olympics in Vancouver 2010. I think all depends how they feel during the season until the olympics and how the actual condition is the days before leaving to Sochi. No doubt that they are still good, but I think it is more interesting and exiting with the new guys who never played such great tournament before.

If Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen won’t play, then Finland have stepped into a new era in hockey for sure. These guys has been there for a long time for sure, but somehow I really feel that it is time for a change. Not only because a change is needed, but there is after all new coming stars. Let them have the show.

Wise decision then by Westerlund to put the Barkov name on the list. He’s one of the most talented players at the moment and he’d be perfect for Sochi, no doubt at all. He’s not for holding in chains. Let him free and we’ll see rather some goalscoring.

I wonder how Petri Kontiola will handle the situation if – let us say – Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen added Mikko Koivu will play. Will he step back from the position as a leader for the team, a position he naturally picked after such a fine World championship tournament he did last? Or will he remain as one of the leaders or be THE leader?

Of course there is no guarantees for success (or fail) whatever Westerlund choose to do with the team and what players he will pick, but there must be a leader for the lion pack, a natural one and hopefully 3-4 guys who can show the way for the rest of the team.

About the goalies…I wonder if any team have such strong goaltending part (?). The goalies wont be a problem at all at the moment. I think though that we will see Tuukka Rask in Sochi.

Quite interesting autumn we’ll have I have to say. I think any player will make everything to make a place in the squad. Also, I am glad that NHL and IIHF have this agreement that the best players shall play in the Olympics.

Let us refresh our memories and watch some hockey sweet for the eye. Finland – Slovakia Olympic games 2010 in Vancouver. And I am looking forward for some revenge against the US team of course (Smile)

 

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

 

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national teams.

 

The Finnish olympic team in Vancouver. Source of picture: Olympic.org 

 

I was supposed to write about the dirty twist around Jokerit’s affair and step towards KHL 2014-15. But I have to admit that it just make me upset and tired. Well, I give you a short review.

First of all, no one is against that the team will take this step, not at all. Most of the other teams and stockholders of SM-liiga are quite delighted that they will take this step. But it is how the step was taken.

By the reports these step was taken behind the curtains and under big hush-hush. What is that really? What’s the issue if can’t show the cards from the very beginning? No big deal really. Now the other involved in SM-liiga wish to hear clearly and closer about this affair. That’s reasonable such demand.

But…

Kummola is quite silence. So is the owner Harkimo as well. The chairman for SM-liiga was not there to talk about this when he supposed to. Done is done now and there is no way to take Jokerit’s spot back from KHL and no one wish that. Only clean sheets.

I leave this and go into something else. Competition.

Is there too much money involved in Hockey? One could guess: probably there is. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing competition for real. Every league has their system. Finland tried the NHL system for some years ago in the meaning a closed league. But took back the relegation up and down. Which I think it is good. Because I really like the competition. The relegation system now could be better as well. Now the Mestis (the second league) has playoff before the winner of Mestis reach the qualification games to SM-liiga against the last team in the league. That’s just plain stupid to be honest.

In this case: why not make it a real competition? Where there are no dead spots after the regular season ended.

For example: SM-liiga playoff system nowadays looks like this. 1-6 is ready for the quarterfinals. Team 7-10 has to play the 1/8 final or so called wildcard playoffs. The last team has to play relegation/qualification game against the winner of the Mestis.

1-6 could stay as it is, the same 7-10. But the other teams could play relegation/qualification against the best 4 teams from Mestis. You see, no dead ends: only plain competition through the season.

I’m not sure if that is ever going to happen because of the fear to loose money. But actually, that is just short thinking. I really believe that in a long term such kind of competition terms will drive up the will to compete harder and better. Every player and team would stand on their tiptoes every moment, every game. Who wouldn’t like that?

In a bigger picture, like the Olympics and world championships also the world cup.  I’d like to see that no team would stand safe during any circumstance. Make it to a real competition from the beginning in one-way or another where every moment and every game matters between relegation and the first place. Then we are talking about a true game.

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala and Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer by telling stories from SM-liiga and national teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source of picture: France24.com

The economic result from the last world championship that went in Finland & Sweden is on the table. While the Finnish hockey association were successful and earned several million euros, the Swedish side had a loss between 20-25 million SEK, which is pretty much -if only say 20 million – about 2 882 342,77 US dollar.

Perhaps for an NHL team organization or for anyone else it is not that much money really but a hockey association it is. I think it is just sad and I don’t wish that anyone.  Not sure how they will cover that up, but I hope actually that they will find something.

So, what to do? Should we skip the World championship in the future?

Well, first of all I think we have to be honest to our selves. For some of you it might sound just harsh, but if look our selves in the mirror: Hockey is not that global, as some people like to think that it is. It is just silly to compare a world known soccer star to…Ovechkin or Crosby. They don’t mean anything to a guy in Australia, China or South Africa. Perhaps there might be some odd fellow who is watching hockey from a flat screen that is hanging down from a branch somewhere in the outback’s or just sitting an awkward pub in Melbourne alone front of the TV with a pint of beer in his hands.

But mention the name Leo Messi you will notice that most people around the world will recognize that name.

With other words, there is a lot to do for the hockey family to achieve that fame level as the soccer or basketballs players have. Don’t get me wrong though, I think myself hockey is the best sport in the world and I really wish that it shall expand more, until that point that there is proper leagues all over the entire world. “We” are not just there yet. That’s fact and we have to face it.

Maybe it might be unnecessary to compare and in general it is. But it has to be said as well. Hockey is absolutely number 1 in Finland. In Sweden it is not despite that they have won a lot more Championships all time than Finland have. Furthermore, the Finnish fans are obviously prepared to pay the ticket fee, while in Sweden a lot of people wont.

I don’t know really how much people in USA and Canada care about World championship for national teams. Might depend whom am I asking? If not, it is reasonable because at the moment: there is nothing bigger or equal to the Stanley cup. That’s another fact.

So, perhaps we really have to look some alternative solutions for the national team tournaments where the absolute best players are involved? We have the Olympics and the World cup is back again soon. That’s something to build on I think.

Would it be a good idea to have World cup every year or every second year when it is not Olympics? Should only one country at the time arrange the tournament or should it be played in every country that is qualified in the tournament?

That’s some of the questions I throw out to everyone who knows better than I do.

Other questions I toss in the air to people with deeper insights than I have:

How to connect the worldwide hockey family closer to each other? How to expand the game to places where hockey is more or less unknown or at least very odd? Also at the same time keep up the good work in those countries where hockey is strong?

We have to remember that hockey is luxury for a lot of people nowadays, even in countries like Finland and Sweden. The equipment is too expensive for many. Which is pity. How to reach around that obstacle?

To the last:

I love myself national team tournaments, if it is World cup, World championship or whatever they are called. It’s a joy to hear the Swiss fans or other fans chanting before, during and after the games and feel the atmosphere from the surrounding. It’s a true hockey party.

And I’d like to experience hockey parties the rest of my life that everyone can join in. So there lays a great responsibility on people including us who are writing about hockey to invite those who are not or who might not have afford with it at the moment.

There’s something for the NHL, KHL and IIHF together with every other national hockey association to deal with and hopefully corporate better in the future somehow to make it happen.

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala at Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national teams.

Ps. a reminder for us that hockey is not after all exactly everything, from my part, my condolences to the family of Kristians Perss. Perss who has been found in Daugava River, Latvia. Rest in peace Kristians Ds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week it was reported that the NHL was finalizing the addition of 5 more outdoor games to the 2013-2014 NHL schedule. Honestly, this is the last thing that should be on their mind. Below are four things I find to be more important than adding 5 outdoor games.

 

1. What is going on with the Coyotes?

      Honestly, does anyone know what is going on with the Coyotes Organization right now? Are they staying? Are they going? Is there a buyer? At the end of the season if there is no viable income coming from the organization I say shut it down. Don’t even think twice about it, just shut it down. I know that sounds callous but this has been a hot button for a few years now. At what point do you stop talking and start doing?

 

2. Where are the two new teams going?

The NHL took the time to release the finalized realignment yet no one knows where the new teams will be located. I’ve heard rumblings of Seattle and Ontario.  Although putting a team in Ontario will likely mess with the realignment and force a newly moved team back to the East. Toronto would also benefit from having a second NHL team. Unfortunately, the NHL would have to deal with the same issue as putting a team in Ontario. Quebec would be out for the same exact reason too. So where should the NHL put two, maybe three, teams?

a) Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage has a lot of attractions to draw people into the idea of going to see a hockey game there. I know I would travel from Ohio to Alaska to take in a game, go to the zoo, and see a few glaciers before they all melt. Plus, Brandon Dubinsky is from Alaska. Need I say more?

b) North Dakota/ South Dakota

You can’t honestly tell me that people in those two states do not like hockey. The question is are there enough people in either state who would come out to a NHL game.

c) New Orleans, Louisiana

This one is probably the biggest reach of them all. I have no clue where they would build a stadium or if people in the area would go to a game. For some reason the thought of putting a team in NOLA intrigues me. In the off season, which is most of hockey season, travel is inexpensive. Plus, believe it or not, there are a lot of hockey fans in Mississippi and Arkansas. Could the NHL corner the market on the southern fans by putting a team in NOLA? Is it worth the risk?

d) Regina, Saskatchewan

I don’t know much about Canada but I do know that I enjoy saying the word Saskatchewan. I’d also like to see the country that invented the game have a few more teams. Plus, it would be nice for the Jets to have a Canadian team nearby.

 

One of the biggest challenges of expanding the NHL is creating a buzz for these new teams. I would have no problem with adding two, or three, extra outdoor games next year. This would be a one year only thing and it would be in the town of the new team. Their opponents for those games should be the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup winner and whatever two teams would draw in the biggest crowd. If you’re in the business of making money and not making your fans angry this would have been the route to take.

 

3. Where’s my All-Star Game?

The city of Columbus has been asking this question for quite some time. When Columbus lost the All-Star game with the lock out an estimated 72 million dollars  in earnings went with it. A lot of time and effort went into preparing for the All-Star game. Shirts were made, banners hung, and new hotels were built. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the havoc you wrecked upon the wonderful Columbus Blue Jackets ticket reps. Can you even imagine what it would be like to have to take those angry/frustrated calls from fans? Bless their hearts. So NHL if you could give the All-Star game back to Columbus that  would be great.

 

4. The Olympics

Apparently the Olympics are still a hot topic right now. Should the NHL let them play? Should the NHL not let them play? For me the answer is “Yes, we should let them play in the Olympics”.

Every four years hockey becomes relevant in the United States. For two weeks “mainstream” sports fans are glued to their televisions watching games. They are constantly checking their phones for updates. Names like Kane, Kesler, Howard, and Johnson become household names through out America. People begin to realize that the term “icing” does not just apply to cupcakes. Yes, during those two weeks our favorite players names get slaughtered. Yes, we field a lot of elementary hockey questions. Who cares people are finally invested in hockey.

The NHL constantly talks about wanting to create more revenue and draw in new fans. Letting the players participate in the Olympics can do just those things. Pretty much every television around the world is tuned into the Olympics. If any of the NHL players do well  people in other countries are going to order “Game Center Live” and different television packages so they can continue to watch their favorite player. They are going to order jerseys and fan gear. Who knows they may even come to America and Canada to see their favorite Olympian play in a NHL game. So why even entertain the thought of not allowing players to participate in one of the most prestigious events to ever exist? What does the NHL gain from not letting them play? I’ll tell you what they gain : angry fans and angry players. Especially since these guys are already entering into Olympic training mode.

 

 

 

 

Last week I took a look at a possible Team Canada roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Today I’ll take a look at a possible Team U.S.A. roster.

Let me know what you think, perhaps throw your own roster out there if you have the time.

Forwards

Patrick Kane – Ryan Callahan – Zach Parise

Phil Kessel – Ryan Kesler – Bobby Ryan

Dustin Brown – Joe Pavelski – David Backes

Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – James Van Riemsdyk

Justin Abdelkader

In the mix: T.J. Oshie, Derek Stepan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, R.J. Umberger, Blake Wheeler and Nathan Gerbe

Pretty deep and solid forward lines but after the top 13 guys it drops off a bit.

Defence

Ryan Suter – Kevin Shattenkirk

Keith Yandle – Jack Johnson

Dustin Byfuglien – John Carlson

Ryan Mcdonagh

In the mix: Erik Johnson, Tim Gleason, Ryan Whitney, Nick Leddy, Matt Carle, Alex Gologski, and Keith Ballard

Solid group of D-men here, E. Johnson, Gleason or Keith Ballard could also easily step in.

Goalies

Jonathan Quick

Ryan Miller

Cory Schneider

In the mix: Tim Thomas, Craig Anderson, and Jimmy Howard

If Craig Anderson keeps his stellar play up from this year through next year, you may see him jump right in there, possibly as the #1. Blue Jackets, you mad about the trade? I would be. If Tim Thomas plays next year and has a Vezina type season, he might make a push as well.

All in all, could the States take home the gold medal? Absolutely they could, they have all the tools to win in a short tournament and they’re really not weak anywhere. Are they as deep as Team Canada and as full of big names? No, but they definitely have the talent to win and beat any team out there.

Hat tip to Zimbio.com again for the use of the photos.

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

 

There’s been tears, joy, sadness, injury and love in these 2012 Olympics. But we can’t forget about the bloopers? Can we?

Enjoy! :)

This swimmer was attempting a possible scratch n sniff but got caught?

 

Not all of these are from this year but there are some good ones in here :)

 

Some 2012 frozen moments

 

The dude sounded like he had an orgasm or something during the commentary..

 

Nastia Liukin nasty fall

 

Zero points for the splash factor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0WdSgcpj_A

 

This dude just tries to get on TV..very sneaky lol

 

This one is for the guys,er, I guess some girls too. Hope I don’t get in trouble for this one :)

These are for the girls and some guys…

Hope you enjoyed these few videos :)

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