Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/15/11 at 06:43 PM ET
Sunday was a very good day for four of the Carolina Hurricanes players. Oskar Osala (currently with the Checkers), Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkänen, and especially Tuomo Ruutu. Today, the Finns demolished the hated Swedes 6-1 in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Championship game in Slovakia. While the others had to resourcefully find a way to watch the game, Ruutu was on the ice, winning the gold.
Osala tweeted that he had to scramble to find a webcast of the game thru a Swedish website since it wasn’t broadcast on teevee at all in North America. Versus had been showing the USA games and some of the other marquee games, including both semi-final games. However, they went with the Indoor Lacrosse League’s championship game between the Toronto Somethingorothers and the Washington Whatchamacallits. Even in Canada, TSN did the same thing. Meh. We’ll get it on tape delay Monday night, but it’s just not the same. This isn’t 1980 anymore.
The Swedes thought they were going to take a 1-0 lead into the second intermission, but Finland tied it with just seven seconds to go in the middle period. Then, Suomi exploded for five unanswered goals, including two sets of two quick ones to dominate the game. It was the first IIHF gold for Finland since 1995.
After a scoreless first period, Magnus Pääjärvi (Edmonton Oilers) scored the first goal of the game for Sweden at 7:40 of the second, and it looked like they would take that slim lead into the locker room. However, Jarkko Immonen (Ak Bars Kazan—KHL) got the equalizing goal at 19:53. His power play marker was assisted by Janne Pesonen (Ak Bars Kazan) and Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild). Immonen ended up leading all skaters in the tournament in points (12) and goals (9).
Petteri Nokelainen (Jokerit Helsinki—SM Liiga, Finland) put the Finns up for good at 2:35 of the third, assisted by Antti Pihlstrom (JYP Jyväskylä—SM Liiga).
At 3:21, Niko Kapanen (Ak Bars Kazan) gave the Finns the only insurance they would needed, assisted by Juhamatti Aaltonen (Metallurg Magnitogorsk—KHL) and Leo Komarov (Moscow Dynamo—KHL). Komarov, interestingly, was born in Estonia and holds dual citizenship in Russia and Finland.
The last four minutes of the game, Finland really poured it on, and I´m sure they would have been happy to score 100 goals against their most hated rival.
Pesonen scored at 16:41, assisted by YouTube sensation Mikael Granlund, who will very soon be signing with the Minnesota Wild.
Just 35 seconds later, Mika Pyörälä (Frölunda Gothenburg—Sweden) made it 5-1, assisted by Koivu and Anssi Salmela (New Jersey Devils).
Not taking the foot off the gas, Pihlstrom scored to make it 6-1 at 19:05, assisted by Jani Lajunen (Espoo Blues—SM Liiga).
Tuomo Ruutu of the Hurricanes didn’t register any points and finished with six points (6/0) in the tournament. He’ll proudly wear his gold medal, just as he was proud of his Olympic bronze medal from 2010.
Pitkänen and Jokinen are scheduled to become UFAs on July 1, and everyone’s guess is that Jokinen will be re-signed for a single season while Pitkänen will go elsewhere. Oskar Osala is scheduled to become a RFA, so the issue is a little less pressing. In his case, I see no reason not to renew his contract for two years.
Carolina has one other Finn under contract. 19-year old defenseman Rasmus Rissanen has just signed an entry-level contract and will play in Charlotte next season.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.