MVP of Finnish Elite League gonna be a Red Wing.

Its pretty interesting when the best player in the FEL has to fight to make the Wings roster.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Red Wings: Notebook

Finnish forward Leino will 'do what it takes' for Wings spot

His reputation is that of a gifted offensive player, but he'll need to adjust to two-way role.

Dave Dye / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- As if the Red Wings didn't already have a glut of talent, here comes Ville Leino, one of the top players from the Finnish Elite League.

Leino, a 6-foot-1, 183-pound forward, was signed last spring after being named winner of the Lasse Oksanen trophy as the FEL's best regular-season player.

He arrived in Detroit on Sunday, skated with the Wings during an informal practice Monday morning and will head to Traverse City this week for the start of training camp Saturday.



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"I think he's ready to come to camp and fight for a spot," said Wings forward Valtteri Filppula, a fellow Finn who worked out this summer with Leino in their homeland. "If he makes it, it would be nice to get another Finn. He has good hockey sense, good hands. I think he's a really skilled guy. The way he plays fits this team."

At least half of Leino's game fits the Wings' style. He has a reputation as a gifted offensive player and an impressive playmaker who excels in the puck-possession system.

One of the reasons Leino signed with the Wings, rather than a team with less depth, was because of that style.

Leino, however, is going to have to adjust defensively and become more effective as a two-way player to truly fit into Detroit's program.

"I'm better in the offensive zone, scoring, that kind of offensive game," Leino said.

How his speed translates to the NHL also will be a factor in trying to make the 23-man NHL roster.

"It's going to be faster," Leino said of the adjustment. "The speed is probably the most important thing."

Leino, a free agent who was never drafted by an NHL club, describes himself as a "late bloomer."

He could, logically, start the season in the minors at Grand Rapids while trying to adapt to the more physical brand of hockey and the larger rink size.

Leino confirmed there's a clause in his contract that will allow him to return to Europe this season if things don't work out satisfactorily with the Wings.

However, he said his contract prohibits him from jumping to another NHL club.

"My goal is to play here," said Leino, who turns 25 next month. "I'll do what it takes. Maybe it takes time. Whatever it takes, four weeks, four months, I'll try to make the team."

"Its pretty interesting when the best player in the FEL has to fight to make the Wings roster."

Thats one of the dumbest things you've ever said Mark1, and Im gonna bust your balls on it.

Of course, all the Finnish players that can make the NHL have come over to the NHL... leaving sub-par hockey players in the FEL. Now every year, one of them is going to be named the MVP of their league. If say that guy know comes over to the NHL and makes a team, that dilutes the talent pool even more. So next year, another dude gets named MVP... but now he's going to have a HARDER time to make the NHL, etc etc. It'll keep happening until no one from the FEL can make the NHL.

The thing that evens this out is the influx of new young players.

So it's not that the Wings are awesome that this guy is going to have a tough time making a NHL line-up, its that he sucks ass.

 LOL.  I know.  I haven't even seen him play yet.  They have already suggested that he will spend this season in the minors, regardless.

I am just doing my bizarro WC17 imitation.

"Thats one of the dumbest things you've ever said Mark1,"

No way, man.  I've said dumber.  lol


lol. what ever happened to WC17 anyway?

I think that the leading scorer from that league signed with the Pens.

"I am just doing my bizarro WC17 imitation."

i miss that bastard

 Yeah I was hoping he'd pop back in with the laffs rebuilding.

Theres no way hes posting here for this season, the laffs are that bad. I've seen him on the UG though. Its funny, hes actually intelligent and rational when talking about MMA.