ITS MORNING IN KUOPIO

Photos courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. I’m not sure when Oilers Nation became devout fans of the Finns, but surely it was around the time Risto Siltanen missed the net by a mile. Or maybe Jari Kurri’s glorious rookie season, or maybe we waited until the apostle Esa arrived from the Tower of Babel.

Either way, for the last 30+ seasons a Finnish prospect drafted by the Edmonton Oilers excites the fanbase like catnip at a feline convention.

Its early but our guy is playing with skilled men and posting nice numbers:

  • October 2010: 12, 4-1-5 (.417ppg)
  • October 2011: 9, 4-3-7 (.777ppg)
  • October 2012: 4, 1-3-4 (1.00ppg)

By my count, none of the numbers this season have come via special teams, which means all 4 points are at even strength. Lets have a look at EV offense from the “big 6″ young men in OKC so far this season:

  1. Teemu Hartikainen 4, 1-3-4 1.00ppg
  2. Ryan Martindale 3, 0-3-3 1.00ppg
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4, 0-2-2 .500ppg
  4. Tyler Pitlick 4, 0-2-2 .500ppg
  5. Jordan Eberle 4, 1-0-1 .250ppg
  6. Magnus Paajarvi 4, 1-0-1 .250ppg

Only one powerplay point from the top 6F so far, and that an assist for MP on a goal by Mark Arcobello.

Jonathan Willis had a nice read on Hartikainen’s early season in OKC in an EJ article the other day:

  • Jonathan Willis: After two games of Magnus Paajarvi on the top line, and one period of Josh Green, Teemu Hartikainen finally got a shot at playing with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins and he made the most of it. His goal was a case of going to the right spot and finishing off a beauty pass, but he looked good otherwise too – he created chaos in the crease and added a physical presence to the line. Missed chunks of the second and third with what were reported as equipment problems.

I’m sure the Oilers would like to see progress with all of their young wingers on the farm during this time when the gifted kids take a detour. Having said that, it makes sense that both Hartikainen and Paajarvi get a little push–Hartikainen because he does have some of the elements we associate with a powerforward, and Paajarvi because the organization (correctly) can’t allow a top 10 selection to fail without making every effort to save it.

Its early, but now is the time for Hartikainen to seize the day. He’s in the final year of his entry deal, is averaging 21.6 goals per 82 AHL games and has many of the skills Oiler management is searching to add when the lunacy ends.

The young man has put himself in a pretty good position. This season is going to be a massive tell for him and the other men vying to play alongside Hall, Ebs, the Nuge, the Yak, Hemsky and Gagner.

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28 Responses to "ITS MORNING IN KUOPIO"

  1. hags9k says:

    , and Yakupov.

  2. "Steve Smith" says:

    Man, a feline convention would be a cat-astrophe.

    (Seriously, though: it would be awful.)

  3. Lowetide says:

    Hag: They’ve got to stop picking first overall, I can’t keep track!

    SS: I hate cats. Seriously. Can’t stand them. But many people love them. I bet a feline convention would bring more people than a dog convention, and I love dogs. A dog convention would be over in an hour. A dog convention would make Altamont look like Sesame Street.

  4. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    I actually like both cats and dogs – I’ve historically lived with cats, because they’re a lot less work, and a better bet when your living accommodations don’t include a yard. But cats hate each other (as they do most other living creatures), while a dog convention could go on for an entire weekend before it even got out of the ass-sniffing mixer.

  5. Lowetide says:

    lol. I love my dog. We’re best friends. My wife hates me because I pay her no mind in regard to spoiling the dog, don’t care. The dog loves me no matter what. Snore? Fine! Pass gas? Beauty! She even dragged my gonch into the living room when one of my daughter’s friends was over.

    Love that dog.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Rieder with a goal already tonight, he’s rolling now.

  7. Bar_Qu says:

    This summarises what we know about cats and dogs (sorry if you’ve already seen it)

    http://www.lolbrary.com/post/16629/dogs-and-cats-diary/

    I personally can’t stand cats as a species but don’t mind them individually.

  8. bookje says:

    Steve – Same here, I see the merits of both cats and dogs and would happily have either/both, but living in the city with a regular sized yard means that I either get some annoying little dog or I have to take my dog out for walks and runs as I don’t think a yard is enough for a real dog. Anyway, when I go away for a week, I change the litterbox and rip open a full bag of food, when I come home, the cat is just fine. That’s freedom that a dog does not provide. Also, whenever I look out my window to see some poor bastard standing next to his dog in -20 waiting for him to crap on my lawn with a bag over his right hand, I am happy with my decision.

    If I lived somewhere with a few acres, I would have a couple of dogs.

  9. bookje says:

    I am worried about Paajarvi. I think we might be into ‘saving him’ territory as LT mentions.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Rieder now 1-2-3 for tonight’s game.

  11. speeds says:

    bookje:
    I am worried about Paajarvi. I think we might be into ‘saving him’ territory as LT mentions.

    Not sure I agree, I think he’s looking like a guy who can probably play 3rd line LW for an elite club within a couple of years, with the potential upside for more.

    However, he may not be the player type EDM’s management group wants for that sort of role, if that’s what he’s going to end up being.

  12. DSF says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    I actually like both cats and dogs – I’ve historically lived with cats, because they’re a lot less work, and a better bet when your living accommodations don’t include a yard.But cats hate each other (as they do most other living creatures), while a dog convention could go on for an entire weekend before it even got out of the ass-sniffing mixer.

    If you happened to die in alone in bed, your dog will stay by your side hoping to help you recover.

    Your cat will eat your corpse.

  13. DSF says:

    bookje:
    I am worried about Paajarvi. I think we might be into ‘saving him’ territory as LT mentions.

    Some of us were worried about Paajarvi the day he was drafted.

    If he can adapt his game over time to be an effective third line winger as speeds mentioned, that’s swell.

    But you can find those players on the free agent and trade market every summer.

    No need to spend half a decade wishin’ and hopin’.

  14. "Steve Smith" says:

    DSF: Your cat will eat your corpse.

    Your point being that cats are smarter?

    (Again, I really like dogs, so I don’t want to be perceived as a partisan in this. But if I’m done with eyes, and the cat’s usual provider is lying there showing no signs of ever moving again, and there are no signs of any alternate provider showing up, why shouldn’t she eat ‘em?)

  15. Lowetide says:

    Rieder now 11, 5-10-15 and in the league’s top 15 scorers.

  16. DSF says:

    “Steve Smith”: Your point being that cats are smarter?

    (Again, I really like dogs, so I don’t want to be perceived as a partisan in this.But if I’m done with eyes, and the cat’s usual provider is lying there showing no signs of ever moving again, and there are no signs of any alternate provider showing up, why shouldn’t she eat ‘em?)

    You sound like a lawyer :)

  17. Lois Lowe says:

    I love both cats and dogs, but the former have a spot closer to my heart. They are wonderful little creatures that can show both alarming indifference and profound understanding of their owners. I am also not settled enough to own a dog so I have never really had the same type of relationship I have had with the cats I have cared for over the years. I will say that having a dog who is hopelessly devoted to you would be a pretty fun to experience.

  18. hags9k says:

    Bookje I share the corcern about Magnus, he has become the prospect I am pulling hardest for to the point of almost not wanting Harski to do well!! That’s insane!!

    “slaps self firmly across the face”

    I am wondering why Nelson punted MPS after just 2 games. I wonder at what point he starts to get discouraged and if and when he starts feeling sorry for himself the mountain gets a whole lot higher. Cmon Magnus fill the net.

    I still have watched zero OKC games, and have been thankful to be getting my info mostly from these comments. Has Schultz really been that good? I mean cmon the boxcars are getting ridiculous. Do I need to get my ass to the AHL live site post haste?

    http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/humor/otherhumor/dog_cat_diary.htm

  19. stevezie says:

    DSF,

    You sound sentimental. The spirit has flown.

    I hereby encourage all of you to, when the time comes, eat my corpse.

  20. TheBusDriver86 says:

    I think MPS needs to play RW.

  21. Rebilled says:

    Only one powerplay point from the top 6F so far LT? The boys are tired.

    http://www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com/galleries/around-the-peaks-north-oklahoma-city/

  22. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide,

    For the record, I called Reider for the Calder in 2014. ;-)

    Suntory beat me to the link, but I love that song. And my dogs. Any irony in a guy named Cat singing about his dog?

    Would Paajarvi be worth moving to center or defense? He wouldn’t need to worry about tough areas or pushing to the net as much and his size, skill, speed and intelligence might be more valuable at those positions. He has a history on the blueline and while it would take some (more) time to re-order his game for a new position, if he is eventually a 2nd or 3rd line center, then there’s a big body for you. Paajarvi centering Hall and Yakupov? That’d be one light-speed line. The only line in the NHL that a live telecast shows on a time-delay because the camera’s can’t keep up.

    We could replace the LW position by trading a bag of pucks for that Baertschi kid in Calgary.

  23. spoiler says:

    Paajarvi has me mystified.

    I think part of it is he (or a coach) has got to figure out what he is.

    That should bring some consistency in his style of play.

    I’d like to see him find his inner forechecker. Be more agressive. Learn to pivot along the walls, use his reach and size. If he ends up being Radek Dvorak, I won’t be upset. Henrik Sedin, overjoyed. Hopefully somewhere in the middle.

    Ditto with book¡e on cats. Legend has it they exist half here and half in hell. I am all about the cats. (love dogs too).

  24. VOR says:

    Spoiler,

    I feel like a lot of people didn’t read the scouting reports on Paajarvi either before or immediately after we drafted him, possibly including the Oilers management. They told a very complete story. I’ll summarize – blazing speed, always carries puck in, favorite move is blowing past the D and cutting to the net, if that play is taken away he will use his wrist shot which isn’t great, loves to shoot but is also a tremendous playmaker, much better passer than shooter, as a result of constantly changing position and role had major defensive lapses and wouldn’t back check, worked amazingly hard to improve this part of his game to the point he is now an above average defensive player and often the first man back, not overly physical but can take a hit. How on Earth we got from that to the idea Paajarvi was a power forward is beyond me. This is the player we got, the one the scouts predicted. Far too many fans and Oilers management want him to change again, into Clark Gillies apparently.

    I have no idea what role this type of player can carve out in the NHL but I am pretty sure there is one. I love how Eberle and RNH are struggling and Paajarvi gets demoted and moved into the “Can we save him class?” I think all that tells us is that we aren’t creative enough to figure out a role that fits the player and instead want this incredibly coachable young man to fit himself to our lack of imagination.

    We can understand Hartikainen. He is a big man with hands who if he were faster would be Teemu Ruutu. We need a similar understanding of Paajarvi and what he might bring to the table. How about viewing him as the solution to one of Lowetide’s pet peeves. MPS is the next Fernado Pisani.

  25. dessert1111 says:

    Pajaarvi: Give him half a season in the AHL with scoring minutes and if he doesn’t look good offensively start grooming him more for a 3rd line defensive forward. Every team needs those, and it’s not like there is a shortage of offensive firepower on the team. Pajaarvi being an excellent 3rd line player is still a win for me, even if he was drafted with top 6 in mind. He’s excellent on the PK, not so much on the PP.

    Rieder: I figured it was a matter of time before he started increasing those numbers. When I saw him in person last week he was doing most things right. The good thing about this player is that even if he can’t score really well at an NHL player he’s much more than a purely offensive player and could be an excellent overall player with secondary scoring abilities. Schultz and Yakupov to share the Calder in 2013, Rieder to win it in 2014? ;)

    I haven’t heard much about Lander yet and I think it’s only a matter of time before people start questioning him. In my opinion he’s much more worrisome than Pajaarvi. Lander hasn’t even shown flashes to me and has been a healthy scratch…in the AHL. Still early of course but how many games until we can start legitimately worrying? His play in the AHL so far is reminiscent to me of his play in the NHL.

  26. Jesse says:

    I think that if anyone is worrying about anything more than they were before the AHL regular season started, they’re jumping the gun. Unless, of course, you’re worrying about whatever injuries the Oilers’ D prospects are suffering. Worrying over 4 games, especially when you take into account the massive adjustment that’s probably going on with all the major players entering (RNH, Eberle, Schultz) and exiting (Cornet) the locker room doors, seems silly to me. (I mention Cornet because despite the fact that he’s a marginal NHLer, he played a significant role on the Barons last year). That’s a lot of shakeup to the chemistry of a team, and personally, I find the fact that the AHL continually schedules 3 games in 3 nights kind of crazy too, and the adjustment to that is likely is a contributing factor early in the season.

    That being said, Hartikainen seems to be making an impact early, throwing his weight around and making it onto the scoresheet. While admittedly a small sample size, that’s nice to see.

    Also from what I’ve seen, MPS has been separating guys from the puck well, and getting into the dirty areas. I haven’t seen every game, but those are positive signs. The kid’s obviously talented, determiend, and willing to learn. I’m sure he’ll figure something out.

  27. prairieschooner says:

    I missed the intro for the discussion on cats and dogs so this seems like a conversation from Ripping Yarns a Python spinoff with Michael Palin talking in a Yorkshire accent for an awfully long time about his shovel.
    It wer a good shovel”

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