The lone Finn on the Vancouver Canucks is forward Juho Lammikko, or at least he was, he’s a restricted free agent (RFA) this summer with arbitration rights. Either way he’s a winner, with Finland having won the IIHF World Championship over the weekend 4-3 in overtime in the Gold Medal match against Canada.
Yes, there was a sketchy call in OT to put the Finns on the power play, but whining about the officiating does nothing to help now, nor does it take the lustre off of Lammikko’s golden moment. Any kind of winning is good for player development and in Europe the Worlds are a huge deal as the video demonstrates.
Tens of thousands of fans gathered to celebrate in both Helsinki and with the team in Tampere. Lammikko notched two assists in ten games and finished a plus-4.
Good for Tyler Motte. The former Vancouver Canucks center, moved to the New York Rangers at the 2022 trade deadline for a fourth round NHL Draft pick in 2023, helped push the Blueshirts past the Carolina Hurricanes and into the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Motte played 14:09 in New York’s 6-2 victory in Raleigh, North Carolina in Game-7 Monday night, picking up 3 shots on goal, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots.
It’s a hockey generalization and cliché for a reason and the main factors in the Rangers’ victory: Special teams and goaltending.
Past vs Present
The other noticeable thing about the Rangers/Hurricanes match-up was the number of former New Yorkers playing for Carolina.
Defenceman Tony DeAngelo, signed last summer, fellow blueliner Brady Skjei (traditional spelling, ha)(pronounced “shay”), traded from New York in 2020, right wing Jesper Fast, signed as a free agent in 2020, Finnish goalie Antti Raanta, who was injured in Game-7, and D-man Brendan Smith all used to play fulltime at MSG at some point. Toss in part-time center (3 playoff games) Derek Stepan and you’ve got another, even though he didn’t make it into this series.
It’s why the hockey world features only two degrees of separation.
At least it’s close to heaven on ice. The Western Conference Final starts tonight (Tuesday) with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers visiting Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avlanche.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!