Tag: Finnish Elite League

Rich Peverley

Report: Peverley to play in Finnish league

Rich Peverley is set to become the latest Bruin playing abroad as various sources report the 30-year-old center will soon join JYP Jyvaskyla of the SM-liiga.

Peverley is coming off a highly successful 2011-12 campaign with the Bs, despite missing 19 games with a sprained MCL. He posted the second-highest assist total of his career (31) in just 57 games and led the Bruins in postseason scoring, with five points.

All this came after signing a three-year, $9.75 million extension with Boston in October.

It’s not a huge surprise that Peverley joined this particular Finnish team. Jyvaskyla employs two of his ex-mates — former Thrashers teammate Eric Perrin and former Predators/Milwaukee Admirals teammate Ramzi Abid.

With the move, Peverley becomes the third Bruin to cross the Atlantic, joining Tyler Seguin (ECH Biel, Switzerland) and Andrew Ference (Mountfield Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic).

Center David Krejci is also reportedly in talks with Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga, but is still in the process of figuring out insurance.

The KHL has a few curious rules for adding locked out NHL players

KHL logo

If you’re a locked out NHL player and you’re eyeing the KHL as a possible backup plan to play hockey, you may be surprised to find out you don’t meet their criteria.

The Russian pro league announced today they’ve got a set of qualifications to help thin the possible herd of incoming foreign players. While KHL teams can claim up to three players, said players’ resumes need to have a few curious things on it (link in Russian, Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov clears some things up):

— 150 NHL games played over the last three seasons

— Must have previous KHL experience

— A national team member in one of the last two World Championships, World Junior Championships, or Olympic teams

— A Stanley Cup winner or finalist or an NHL award winner of another kind

To add to this, the KHL will only pay up to 65 percent of an NHL player’s contract so even if you want to go get paid, you’re not going to get it all. On the upside for the Russian team, that salary doesn’t count against their league’s cap.

With the Swedish league not allowing locked out players in (or will they?) and the KHL having these restrictions, suddenly Finland and Switzerland are looking a bit better for lockout hideaways.

Vesa Toskala: “The last few seasons haven’t been what I hoped for”


Just say the name “Vesa Toskala” and you’re bound to get a reaction from Toronto Maple Leafs fans. You might have a four-letter word spit in your direction. You may watch the individual double-over with uncontrollable laughter. You might see them clinch their fist and glare at you. Whatever the reaction, it’s safe to say that the Vesa Toskala era in Toronto didn’t end like most fans wanted it to. Come to think of it—the majority of Toskala’s time with the Leafs was less than spectacular.

His North American career started with so much promise. The Sharks thought enough of him that when the team had Toskala, Evgeni Nabokov, and Miikka Kiprusoff—it was Kiprusoff who was traded to the Calgary Flames. His time in San Jose peaked during his last season with the club (2006-07) with 26 wins in 38 games for the Sharks. He was eventually traded to the Maple Leafs who hoped he would blossom as he got out from behind Evgeni Nabokov’s shadow. Needless to say, it didn’t really work out how the Leafs or Toskala hoped it would.

After wearing out his welcome in Toronto, he was traded to Anaheim. Before he made it into a single game with the Ducks, he was sent off to the Calgary Flames. All in all, he was a member of three teams, played 32 games for two teams, and earned only 9 victories. Even though his numbers looked much better in Calgary down the stretch, his .874 save percentage and 3.66 goals against average for Toronto will be how most people remember his 2009-10 season. Toskala included:

“The last few seasons haven’t been what I hoped for,” he said. “It will be nice to return to play for Ilves. I’m feeling strong, and I think we have a good team that can definitely go further than last year.”

Last season Toskala bounced around looking for a permanent gig even though he turned down a job with the Calgary Flames. Yes, really.  He played in a couple of games with AIK in Sweden before his one-month contract expired. For fans who want to know what the end of the road looks like, this is it.

Instead of packing it in, Toskala is giving it one last shot to get his game back on track. He’s signed a one-year deal with Ilves Tampere in the Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga). In his last season with Ilves Tampere, he went 21-12-5 with a 2.14 goals against average. Both the team and Toskala hope he can recapture the magic that made him one of the most promising goaltenders last decade. At only 34 years old, there’s still time for Toskala to revitalize his career. All he needs to do is play a little better.

Well, all he has to do is play a lot better.

Tim Thomas travels long, bumpy road to 2011 Stanley Cup finals

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Seven

There are a lot of deserving players on both sides of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Really, anyone willing to fight through 82 regular season games and 18 playoff games earned the right to be there on Wednesday in Game 1. Still, there are certain Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks whose stories are a bit less ordinary and a lot more inspiring.

For the Canucks, defenseman Sami Salo’s injury-filled career makes him an easy player to root for. The Bruins feature a solid cast of interesting characters, including 43-year-old potential Hall of Famer Mark Recchi, but the best story might be of their best player: goalie Tim Thomas.

Despite breaking club records at the University of Vermont with Martin St. Louis, Thomas took a long time to convince people that he could make his unorthodox style work at the NHL level. Take a look at all of the stops he made on his way to becoming a full-fledged starter (and eventually, an all-world goalie) with the Bruins.

(Games played for each team listed in parenthesis.)


HIFK (Helsingin IFK)  (6 games) – Finnish league
Houston Aeros (1 game)

Hamilton Bulldogs (15)
HIFK (14)

Detroit Vipers (36)

AIK (Allmänna Idrottsklubben Ishockeyförening) (43) – Swedish league

Kärpät (32) – Finnish league

Providence Bruins (35)
Boston Bruins (4)

Providence Bruins (43)

Jokerit (54) – Finnish league

Providence Bruins (26)
Boston Bruins (38)

06-07 – current
Boston Bruins (277)

It’s amazing to think about how far Thomas has come (literally and figuratively) to get to this point. He didn’t really become the Bruins’ top goalie until he reached his 30’s and he lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask in 2009-10*, yet he keeps silencing his critics one breathtaking and terrifying save at a time. He used his unusual style to win the 08-09 Vezina Trophy and seems like an odds-on favorite to win it again this year. He continued much of that momentum in the playoffs, standing as the No. 1 reason the Bruins got this far.

Still, he faces one more big obstacle on his way to the ultimate validation that is a Stanley Cup victory: the deep, talented and rugged Vancouver Canucks. This is the toughest overall team Thomas’ Bruins could face, and if you ask many hockey people, they’ll tell you that the Canucks are a considerably stronger overall team. Yet as we’ve seen time and time again in playoff history, a red-hot goalie can change everything.

In other words: Tim Thomas will likely be asked to defy the odds starting in Game 1 on Wednesday. Something tells us he’ll be familiar with that proposition.

* Here is a video covering how Thomas bounced back from that “off year” in 09-10.

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