WJC Game 4: USA vs. Finland

Finland was more than game tonight against tournament favorite USA going down in a narrow defeat 6-5 to fall to 0-2 on the tournament. Finland roared back from a 6-3 deficit in the 3rd period to get the game within striking distance before failing to get the tying goal with the extra attacker on. Prospect Karri Ramo made his first appearance of the tournament facing a 43 shot barrage and making 37 saves in the contest.

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Ramo

I just saw that game on replay, and Ramo was just hung out to dry. Only one of the goals could have been considered questionable. He still made some good saves. On another note, I wonder how long before he's in NA and the Coleman project is over...

Re: Ramo

With Ramo in a good situation in HPK, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he stayed in Finland another year. That said, I'm sure the Lightning would like to get him here ASAP. We've been told they will attempt to sign Koshechkin as well and given how well Henrk Lundqvist has played in the NHL and Norrena making Team Finland, they will probably make another attempt to get him over here IMO. Regarding the Coleman experiment, the situation in Springfield with Eklund falling on his face and no veteran to tandem with Brian moved Coleman into a starting AHL role well ahead of what I think was expected of him going into the season. I think it's kind of harsh to get down on him just because he's not ready to be a full time AHL starter at 20-21 years old. I never thought he'd be going in. I figured he'd be in a tandem in the ECHL to start is development. Everyone knew it'd be a long term process with Coleman. He has two more years on his entry level contract after this one. It's too early to give up on him, we just need to get back to some realistic expectations. Eklund, however, could be very easily on his way out the door. Cey has another year on his contract after this one, I think, but he too could become expendable if Ramo and/or Koshechkin come in. Boutin has played really well so far and if he keeps it up in the second half I think he'll repair a lot of the reputation he had within the organization as the team's best goaltending prospect.

re:re: Ramo

Ugh, how embarassing... I was referring to Eklund when I typed Coleman. Major, Major brain-cramp. I had the two of them confused in that they are in a similar boat (both kind of "project" goaltenders who have exceeded expectations in seasons past). I was wondering if it would be worth giving him another shot at re-gaining his starting role after the season or trying to bring over Koshechkin/Ramo. I now feel like the police officer who mistaked Peter Worrell for Andreas Lilja. I assume since Lada has been gutted this season that Koshechkin will be a slightly higher priority to bring to North America? My only real question now is: would you consider the ECHL a downgrade from the RSL?

Re: ECHL

The ECHL is definitely a downgrade from the Superleague. Look at the Spengler Cup... Magnitogorsk pretty handily beat a team of high end AHL and former NHL players in the opening match of the tournament. Because these owners in Russia have money to burn, they've been buying up a lot of talent and they probably do have the second best league in the world right now behind the NHL (at least in the quality of their top 8 or so teams). Does that mean the ECHL isn't an option to start Koshechkin on this side of the ocean? No. I think the ECHL is an outstanding option for adjusting European goaltenders to North American rinks and doing it in small town markets where they can integrate into the culture much more easily than in a bigger city. Unfortunately you'd have to convince Koshechkin of that... and I believe these are three way contracts these guys sign which is why Artyukhin, for instance, never spent extended time in Pensacola when that was our ECHL affiliate. Thing about Koshechkin is, I've read some people in Russia think he could play in the NHL today. That might just be some homer fans though. Only a training camp and ex games would prove it one way or the other.

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