In what seems as a shocking move, Finnish based team Jokerit Helsinki has announced it will leave the very respectable SM-Liga (Finnish Elite League) for the KHL starting in the 2014-2015 season. Jokerit is one of the more established teams in SM-Liga with quite the following. This proves the KHL is adding one more step to become an international competitor to the National Hockey League.
The KHL is currently comprised of 29 teams based out of 8 countries. Jokerit Helsinki will become the ninth representing Finland. Croatia is slated to enter the league this coming season.
All 29 teams are spread out throughout Euro-asia with the far east being newly HC Admiral Vladivostok which plays on the east coast of Russia across from Japan. Spearheaded by Alexander Mogilny, Vladivostok is hoping to turn itself into a contender within it’s first year and play for the Gagarin Cup.
Jokerit has had several stars breakout over the years including Esa Tikkanen, Teemu Selanne, Ville Laino, Erik Karlsson and currently Valtteri Filppula’s older brother Ilari and Jarkko Ruutu. It will be interesting to see how this team of Finnish faithful will adapt to the Russian style and league.
The Olympics are not far away so it’s time to brush up on our international hockey teams.Team Finland has not been very strong in their national department of defence on the ice. That being said, their dynamite offensive forwards make up for a lot of that.
Although the roster’s won’t be finalized for a while there are a few players that we can speculate on. Two big names that play in their favour are Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. The fire power on these two and veteran sense can come a long way in a tournament like the Olympic games. Also, god bless Teemu.
Koivu’s younger brother Mikko and Valtteri Flippula are also two big strong offensive pieces to their puzzle. And then there’s Olli Jokinen….
Goaltending. You want to talk about depth. The top 3 goaltenders the Fins have are Pekka Rinne, Antti Niemi and hot flavour of the moment Tuukka Rask. My god the Flyers would invade for that kind of lineup.
The defensive line is old and speaking of the Flyers, leading the way is Kimmo Timonen. Along with Sammi Salo, they both provide leadership and veteran qualities to help out young pups like Sami Lepisto.
Finland is apart of the ‘Big 7’ and won bronze in Vancouver but nobody ever seems to remember that. Well, I do and I’m these guys could shock a few people.