One Finnish team is left to play the second round of the European Trophy; Oulun Kärpät. They’ve went down to Hamburg to face Hamburg Freezers. Difficult games in any kind of way also important game for survive of the tournament. They have to win to get a hang on a top position in their group and reach the playoffs.


Jokerit Helsinki, Helsinki IFK and Tappara Tampere have lost 2 games in a row. TPS Turku and KalPa Kuopio has now 1W and 1L. Only JYP so far have 2W of 2 games. Let’s see how it goes with Kärpät tomorrow (read Saturday). If they catch up a victory they will have 1-1.


It’s all right numbers. Nothing to complain about really but a bit of a surprise as well that JYP is the Finnish team who seems to be fit and ready for the tournament.  Jokerit, HIFK and Tappara are disappointments so far, especially Jokerit that I expected a lot from. KalPa and TPS is so-so with their performances.

Unnecessary I think by TPS to drop the 1-4 for lead to 5-4 at the end of the game in Stockholm against Djurgårdens IF, who plays normally in the Swedish second division. I was on spot and saw the game. Thought after 2 periods that the game were pretty much over but the home team bounced back and pulled the winner trigger in the SO competition.


TPS Turku has produced a lot of players by the years. Most famous are the Koivu brothers, Saku and Mikko also the Kipprusoff’s: Marko and Miika. Other talents from the club are for example Sami Salo and Aki-Petteri Berg. Recently upcoming star is Rasmus Ristolainen.  Not to forget, the legend Petteri Nummelin.

They also were once during the 90s one of the top Euro teams. It was a utopia for many opponents to beat them.

Nowadays they are one of the LIIGA-teams that use to struggle in the bottom of the league. Far from the fame and glory they achieved in the past.

Will they find their way back?

Hard to tell, but I hope so. It is always somehow sad that a big club like TPS has dropped down like a rock for many known and unknown reasons. It will take to build up the team at the same level as before. More difficult than before I suppose much because that there is now so much more options for a hockey players to choose. If the team is not winning enough, then it is quite easy to skip further to another where they also probably pay better. That’s how it works today.

I suppose they have to find out something that keeps the good players to be loyal to the team over 3-4 years and fill with new players when they are leaving. One answer what that “something” might be is of course: money. Perhaps also bid something else than can’t be count in money, such as good social environment and other privileges.

Shall be interesting though to follow the team this year and see what Coach Kai Suikkanen can do with the material this year. I really wish that they would come back to the top one day.


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/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe


Connecting the worldwide hockey family by telling stories from the Finnish Liiga and national teams.



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:

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

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

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)


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/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.



At the beginning of the 2001-2002 season Saku Koivu boarded a plane and headed towards Montreal for the start of training camp. While on the flight Koivu began to have stomach pains. Shrugging the pain off he reported to practice where the symptoms became worse. Koivu talked to the team doctor and on September 5th was hospitalized. A biopsy surgery revealed that Koivu had a tumor and malignant cells in his abdomen. The doctors originally diagnosed him with stomach cancer but changed the diagnoses to non hodgkins lymphoma. Before the start of chemotherapy Koivu asked the media to respect his privacy and leave him alone. On April 9th 2002, Koivu returned to the ice where he was greeted with an 8 minute standing ovation from the crowd. The Canadians won that game and then went on to beat the #1 ranked Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.


If it wasn’t for costly cancer treatments Saku Koivu wouldn’t be alive today. Please consider helping the Columbus Blue Jackets  in the fight against testicular cancer and donating here. Every little bit helps make a difference.

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