Posts Tagged ‘jokerit’

There has been renewed rumours and discussion about Teemu Selanne joining Jokerit for its inaugural KHL season. The rumour has been floating around since Jokerit announced that it would join the league for the 2014-2015 season. The rumours got more wind under its wings after Jokerit GM and Teemu’s friend, Jari Kurri said that he would sit down with Selanne when he is in Finland to discuss it seriously and find out if Teemu has the drive to play “one more year”.


During the NHL play-offs there was talk of Teemu’s KHL career when a Russian news paper quoted Teemu saying that it was entirely possible. However, after the bitter game seven loss to LA Kings, Selanne admitted that it is unlikely and has spoken about what activities await him in Anaheim after his career is finished.


This is purely speculation, but I think Selanne is unlikely to join the Jokerit team because:


1) It is far away from his home in California and it is unlikely that he will want to uproot his family for a year and disrupt his kids’ school. It would be likely that should Teemu choose to play in the KHL, his family would stay behind in Anaheim. As a family man, does he want to leave his family for the whole season?


2) It is a lot of travel and Teemu has admitted that sometimes he has feared travelling when having to fly in adverse weather. Combine that with the long haul away trips that could potentially be flown with Russian planes that have a questionable reputation since the Lokomotiv air disaster.


3) Teemu has a desire to win. I doubt that Jokerit will be able to muster together a team that will challenge for the Gagarin Cup. I would anticipate that the team will be strong, but not a championship contender.


4)Where I think that Selanne would be able to compete and play to a high level at the KHL, given what we saw of him in Sochi, the whole “let’s bring in Selanne” motto sounds like a big marketing ploy than anything else. Would I pay money to see Teemu Selanne play in my native? Absolutely! He is an enigmatic person and has a lot of pull both on the ice and off it.


5) Does he really “need” to play? No! At almost 44-years old, Selanne has given his everything as a player. He has ample knowhow and knowledge that can be used elsewhere within the game and I think he has more than earned his retirement. There is life outside of hockey and he, if anyone has deserved it.


I’m not saying Selanne couldn’t play at the KHL level. He proved that he could play in the NHL, even if Bruce Boudreau decided that Selanne can play in a diminished role. The Olympics showed that Selanne is still an offensive threat.


How I would like to see Selanne utilised? He has told Urheilu-Sanomat’s editor in chief Vesa Rantanen that he wants to set up a goal scoring clinic where he would teach Finnish junior players the art of scoring. Getting the insight from a man who has notched over 680 goals in the NHL is something that would be awe-inspiring.


I’ve seen a few videos of Selanne where he discusses junior training and sports in general and it is hugely interesting. The man has a knowledge base and the background that could be used to develop players on a national level, if not work with young prospects in the NHL. Let’s not forget that Teemu Selanne’s career was pretty much over by the 04-05 Lock out. However, after undergoing knee surgery and completely changing how he trains to get back to the top talks volumes of how Selanne can help the younger players achieve more.


Where Selanne may not win a Stanley Cup as a player, I think it is entirely possible that he will add a few rings to his collection in a front office role. In an ideal world, I would like to see Teemu Selanne, Jere Lehtinen, Saku Koivu and Ville Nieminen set up a think tank to improve the quality of Finnish hockey players and set up a sort of programme of excellence.


One can dream.

Whilst we wait for further news on Selanne’s plans, I think I’m not alone in saying that he has deserved his retirement.


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Zoltan (insert Dude, Where’s My Car joke here) Hetenyi has gotten himself into a bit of trouble over in the US. The Hungarian puck stopper, who also played in the Finnish SM-Liiga for Jokerit last season, has reportedly been arrested on three counts of sexual battery. Additionally to the sexual battery charges, Hetenyi reportedly shouted that he hates America and other racial slurs.


The incident took place Duluth Georgia when Hetenyi and his team Orlando Solar Bears from the ECHL  were in Duluth to take on Gwinnet Gladiators. According to Gwinnet Daily Post, there was no mention in Hetenyi’s arrest record on whether he was intoxicated, but well, chances are he might have had one or two drinks. According to his arrest report, Hetenyi wanted to demonstrate his glove and blocker hands to a waitress at a local Duluth establishment. Hetenyi, according to the police report, grabbed a waitresses buttocks with two hands (did this twice) and then grabbed her breasts.


Following the arrest, Orlando Solar Bears have announced that they have cut all ties with Hetenyi following his arrest, making a serious dent in his plans to push for the higher tiers of North American hockey. Hetenyi has split his time this season with the Solar Bears in the ECHL and Peoria Rivermen in the AHL. It is unclear at this stage whether Hetenyi will be seeking playing opportunities in Europe or if he is likely to return to his native Hungary, or if he will have a spot on the Rivermen roster.

The NHL season is scheduled to kick off on the 11th of October, but it is in serious jeopardy due to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring and the parties are, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, far apart from each other.

Since the playoffs, many journalists, insiders and players have speculated that the earliest they can see the season starting is December and it is looking like the October start time for the league is some way off.

Given that the previous lock-out saw an entire season cancelled, it sent a lot of players to Europe to play and looks like a lot of teams are making plans to get players to return to Europe, should the lockout take place.

HC Davos in Switzerland has already announced that it has agreed that San Jose Sharks centre man Joe Thornton and new New York Ranger Rick Nash would ice for the team. Both played in Davos for the whole year during the last lockout.

Frolunda in Sweden has, according to a couple of tweets, tabbed up Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Loui Erikkson of the Dallas Stars to play for the team should the lockout take place. All the players are products of the Frolunda system.

The Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, apparently has said that he would “not rule out playing for Jokerit.” Selanne who turned 42 this summer, signed a years’ extension with the Ducks in what he has hinted would be his last season in the NHL. For the other NHL  Finns, there haven’t been any firm news of player movements, but sports outlet Veikkaaja polled 15 Finnish NHL players (poll was done anonymously) and only one said that he would play in the Finnish SM-Liiga.

From my perspective, where it would be great to see NHL players playing Europe, I would rather see a full season of NHL hockey. Should the lockout take place, it would be the third lockout during my lifetime, which cannot be good advertisement to the way the league and the sport operates.

I sincerely hope that the owners, the NHL and the NHLPA can reach an agreement so that we have a full 82 game season.

As I’ve now been doing my off ice and off season training for two weeks, it has suddenly hit me that my body actually has a lot more to give in terms of being on the ice.

As I’m writing this, I am watching the last game for the Canadiens in the regular season. Earlier today I intensely followed the Finnish elite league play-offs and read odd bits and pieces on Facebook and twitter about the English Elite League playoff weekend (which is a dumb format by the way, but more about that later)

As the saying goes, spring is the best time for a hockey player. The sun is coming out and the dark of the winter is gone and you feel energised. I’ve always looked forward to this time of the year as a player; it used to be the time for playoffs if you were that lucky, or when I was playing rec hockey, it was the start of the season. But now the season is over for me, but with the team finishing in a playoff position (in most leagues anyways) I feel sort of hollow.

Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of what we achieved this season, but I feel we could’ve done a lot more. I guess this feeling has it’s roots in a twitter conversation I had with Boone Jenner, a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect. He asked me what do we play for if we don’t have playoffs?

Well in honesty I love playing hockey, but not having playoffs is a real downer to the season. You play your heart out, but at the end of the day its like soccer where the team that finishes first gets crowned champions.

Seriously what is the point in that? I know there are probably hundred and one issues around it like money and ice time and blah blah blah, but let’s look at it from this point of view: nearly all European leagues, pro or not, have playoffs in place. And I don’t mean stupid playoff weekends, but proper playoff series, best of seven series’ etc. The main argument I’ve heard for playoffs is that the hickey teams don’t own the rinks, I’m going to be using Finland as an example here, but back home only one team owns it’s own rink, well sort of. The team is Jokerit. If a professional league where teams don’t own their own rinks can arrange playoffs can arrange and schedule playoffs it surely can’t be that difficult to arrange them. Hell, even the rec league I played in had playoffs (Cue stuff about summer leagues and more ice time available blah blah blah).

Maybe I’m just bitter that I’m not playing playoff hockey or at least have the chance to play for a playoff spot. How ever, I can’t change the league and the way they manage things, but o think it’s a high time for them to wake up and stop treating hockey like it’s soccer. It ruins the game.