Posts Tagged ‘Kale’

Finland’s start to the World Championships has been somewhat slow. The team has scored only two goals across 120minutes of play and luckily have not given up a goal as yet. I’m kinda happy that we haven’t allowed a goal as yet, as I said prior to the games starting that Finland won’t have any problem on the goal tending department. I won’t go into an in depth analysis of the playing style or the timing of the passes, because this post would probably be about 5,000 words long and my internet stream cut out so much that I gave up taking indepth notes half way through.  I


Speaking of the stream though, it was frustrating to have it cut out with about 10 minutes left in the game. I got it back with two minutes to go and then lost it again, only to have it back when Jukka Jalonen was shaking hands with  his assistant coaches after winning the game. The YouTube comments that run next to the IIHF Video stream were understandably filled with rage when the image cut out.


Finland has now had numerous power play opportunities in the two games it has played but has not mustered anything on them. The power play, as far as I can see it, is about nifty puck movement but there is not enough shots coming in on goal and the players are not quick enough to react to second chances on the rebounds. Somehow I feel that the guys are trying too much instead of keeping it simple. Whether it is the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd that’s getting to them or the 24/7 TV access to training and whatnot that is disturbing the flow of the game, but I have a feeling that there is something not quite clicking with the team yet.


If we look back to last year, Finland did have a slow start to the gamest then as well, but at least the team was scoring more goals in the first couple of games. I don’t know if the puck control game, or “Our Game” thesis that Jukka Jalonen is coaching with is causing the lack of scoring. Where I think that the style of play suits Finland from the point of view that the team is controlling the puck and flow of the game there is always that little bit that makes me think that they should be more direct and drive hard to the net.


On many of the offensive rushes that the Finns have had are like a throwback to Juha-Matti Aaltonen’s playing style. Drive hard from the boards and go behind the net. The Finns are trying to use Gretzky’s office as a place to create offence and there’s one player who can do that on the team and it is young Granlund. He dished out a nifty pass to Pesonen from behind the net. Pesonen fluffed the first shot but made good by getting his backhand shot to go top shelf.


Whatever it is, the team has to start scoring and playing a more up-tempo game as now it looks more like the players are going at walking pace on the ice. The opponents will only get harder as we are yet to play USA or the party-hard Canada team. Finland has to improve drastically for those games if it is to have any kind of hope for a repeat of its world championship. You simply do not win championships by scoring one goal per game. That is unless you are a soccer team and you score one goal and then go into a turtle defence mode. But that’s not the way hockey is supposed to be played like.


The goalies have both been solid. Vehanen dropped the puck a bit more than Lehtonen, but a shutout is a shutout. It poses an interesting problem for the Finnish coaching staff as to who to play more in the games, with both goalies being in good form and with Karri Ramo waiting on the wings.


I would expect that Jalonen realises the fact that he can’t have his team score only one goal per game and expect to go to the finals. He definitely needs to get more out of the power play and from Jussi Jokinen, who has been terrible in the first two games. Jalonen needs to also work on some issues that the Finns have on normal 5on5 game.


Good thing is, we have not (yet) seen anyone talk about the old Finnish adage of “Scoring is difficult” or “we had this many scoring chances in the game” it’s not the chances that win you the game, it’s the goals that you actually score.

The ticket price debacle goes on and I fear that it is going to be the thing that is most remembered from the 2012 World Championships. Yesterday, the Finnish organisers said that they are not going to be lowering the ticket prices to the games following Sweden’s announcement of 70% slash in prices.


The organisers are saying that there have been plenty of tickets sold and even went as far as to claim that the Finland vs Belarus game was sold out. However, the prices continue to be a thorn in the fans’ side. Some tried to stage a protest against the prices in the France vs Kazakhstan game. However, from the opening game between France and USA the organisers had barred the display of banners that were larger than 1mx1m, though if the rule applies to all banners displayed, shouldn’t the organisers ban the display of national flags in the stands as those are bigger than 1mX1m. There was one banner displayed in the Hartwall Arena saying “Kale Hinnat Alas, Kale on varas” loosely translated to Kale, lower the prices, Kale you’re a thief. The banner was visible for five seconds before a group of security officers descended on the group displaying the banner and “kindly” asked for the group to vacate the premises.


Though the group was later allowed back into the stands sans banner, it still says a lot about the way that the organisers are treating the fans. As you can see from the picture below, the group of guys is clearly happy about the prices and of the treatment they have received in the  games (Picture courtesy of Esko Seppanen:!/EskoSeppanen) . Image


The organisers clearly have a stand of “No opinion will be listened to unless it is the approved one by the organisers”. I know that may not necessarily be the case, but that’s what it looks like to me as a spectator and lover of hockey.


In my humble opinion, the games have turned into a joke. Not because of the hockey but because of the fact that the games are played to half empty arenas and the organisers have adopted a “we will not negotiate with terrorists” policy. I guess if the organisers lower the prices it is them admitting that they got it horribly, HORRIBLY wrong.


If Rene Fasel, the guy at the top of the IIHF admits that the ticket prices and the debacle around them is not good advertisement to hockey or to the tournament, there should be alarm bells ringing at the organisers’ office. Oh I forgot, there has been alarm bells ringing and they have admitted that they’ll take these games on board and rectify things for next time. Why next time? Why not now? Is it that bad to slash the prices to games so that there would actually be FANS in the stands cheering the games? 

It is ironic that the France vs Kazakhstan game has attracted more or less the same audience as the USA vs Canada game from yesterday and that it is LOUDER in the arena than it was during Finland vs Belarus or USA vs Canada.


In either case, I think Finland and the Finnish Ice Hockey Association will have to wash its face for many months after the games. I’d like to see what some of the stars who are playing in the games think about playing to an empty arena. I know Pavel Datsyuk didn’t seem too happy about the attendance figures in Stockholm and I guess playing to a dead crowd is difficult for the NHL guys who are used to playing to a sold out crowd for the entire season.


For the sake of hockey, I hope that the attendance will get better and that there is going to be cheering at the games. However, something makes me think that this is not going to be the case.