The Ice Hockey Championship starts with an evenly matched round – Sport teased Kärpp: “A typical Risto Dufva away game”

The Ice Hockey Championship starts with an evenly matched round

Tappara started the season with a win, but Kärpi had a tougher time against Vaasan Sport. Expert Topi Nättinen breaks down the most interesting talking points of the opening round of the SM league.

The ice hockey SM league season kicked off in earnest on Wednesday with a round of six matches. As a result, the matches did not offer any major surprises.

Sports expert Top Nättinen opens up the most interesting topics at the beginning of the SM league in this story.

What are we talking about?

Tappara’s Swedish coach Rikard Grönborg started his SM league career with a clear 4–0 win against the Pelicans. Grönborg is one of the most interesting names of the season that has started. Grönborg, who has won three world championships as a head coach, has also ventured into the NHL in his career.

– There have been many doubts about what will change in Tappara. The game wasn’t, and it didn’t need to be, yet again, but Tappara once again played well enough. However, I felt that the Pelicans didn’t reach their best, Nättinen says.

It has been a little more difficult for Tappara in the CHL, but now under the leadership of Grönborg, the team was able to offer a stylish victory to the home crowd after the championship pennant celebrations.

– Such a victory will certainly free up and create opportunities to move the process forward. When there is a new coach and high expectations, in the eyes of the whole community, the wins bring space, time and oxygen to develop their own habits.

– So coaching doesn’t have to be reactive, and they don’t have to react to losses. With such victories, Tappara can do small things better and strengthen his strengths.

Who surprised?

Kärpät beat Vaasa Sport 2–1, but the people of Vaasa managed to take the game to overtime. Sport commander Risto Dufvan Nättinen, who has played in coaching throughout his career, describes that Sport surprised, but at the same time did not surprise.

– The result was a very typical Risto Dufva away game. They made the game really difficult for the opponent at the expense of their own attacking game. Then the game is low-goal and the opponent’s pain increases, but the own team knows that this is part of the game plan.

– Playing sports was not just about perfect survival. The foreign legion was already very committed from the first match.

Who flopped?

Rookie coach Petri Karjalainen KalPa lost a 3–0 lead in Niirala’s game against SaiPa. SaiPa stretched the game to a winning goal contest where KalPan Jaakko Rissanen emerged as the decider.

– Even though KalPa’s 3–0 lead was not deserved in light of the shots and saves, against a weak SaiPa in advance, one should not melt at home. Especially for new head coach Petri Karjalainen, this was an even bigger blow than losing one point.

What next?

The season continues on Thursday with the meeting between Ilves and Luko, but even more interest is focused on the meeting between Tappara and HIFK on Friday.

HIFK has to wait longer than others for the opening of the season.

– HIFK has “the team of all time”. There are big expectations for it, which have also been loaded from within the club. Up against the reigning Finnish champion, who started with a convincing 4–0 home win. It will be interesting to see how HIFK will play.