Is Petri Kontiola a confirmation for Tappara? The master coach evaluates

Tappara, shaped by Rikard Grönborg, forges a result in the League, against the expected goals. The returning Petri Kontiola is added to the mix.

Rikard Grönborg has brought new winds to Tapparaa. Elmeri Elo / AOP

Tappara’s supporters were certainly ready for a change, even a big one, but still the fans of the Nokia Arena have rubbed their eyes from time to time.

For a little while, it looked as if the Hanson brothers were chasing prey, when Tappara’s attackers greedily chased the puck without worrying about the opponent’s superior attack.

Rikard Grönborg has truly brought change to the rink, not just to the welcome speeches. Jukka Rautakorvin and Jussi Tapolan the core elements of the traditional ax playing, such as tight hitting and the calm rhythmic attacking of the whole five, have been stripped away.

– The difference is clear compared to the former Tapparaa and even the rest of the ice hockey in power in Finland, he nods Pekka Virtamaster coach and ice hockey expert of Iltalehti.

– Tappara has previously been an example of patience that grinds and grinds. Now the game is turned around quickly, and players even have a little permission to steal from good loot.

“I greet you with pleasure”

Kalevi Numminen and Rauno Korpi forged championships in the 1970s and 1980s. After them, Tappara sank into the pit of mediocrity for years before the success streak created by Rautakorvin and Tapola.

By hiring Grönborg, Tappara aims above all to avoid another pitfall, but also to offer his fans a different, flashier entertainment package.

– The champion team changes its playing style and identity, Virta summarizes.

– It has succeeded perfectly in the beginning.

Tappara has lost only one of its 12 league matches. The average score is 2.5.

– With joy I greeted the choice, that they dared to take a foreigner and thus play a different type of puck than typically in Finland. You can also win through attack, says Virta.

– The players are also excited that it’s nice to play when you can let go – but one of the reasons for that is of course that all the teams in the world don’t just let go. Now it has worked well.

Virta reminds us that Tappara’s roster is high-quality.

– The result has been really good, but I wouldn’t attribute it to a super high playing style. Maybe they would be at the top with another style.

Against expectations

The top spot in the league table is not the whole picture of autumn. In the CHL, the defense of the championship ended in relegation at the end of the first series, as the only Finnish team.

– If the style of play surprised many in Finland, it is not a competitive advantage in Switzerland, Virta points out.

– It is clear that Tappara’s old style of play was poison for many in Europe. It is no coincidence that Tapola’s style became successful in the CHL.

In the league, the high rate of scoring is contrary to goal expectations. Tappara has made more than 17 hits more than expected and has let in almost 10 less.

Quality attacking players Anton Levtchin with the management, relatively few places have gone online with a huge percentage. On the finish line Christian Heljanko has caught fire right away in the fall, unlike previous seasons.

– The current Tappara doesn’t count on who controls the puck the most, but is a fast counterattacking and goal-scoring team – and above all, a good team in special situations.

Tappara’s special situation percentages are excellent: ulivoima 27.03, Alivoima 83.78.

Christian Heljanko has canceled out goal expectations. Elmeri Elo / AOP

Filler for the opening of the arbor

The end of the league’s autumn gets a tasty spice, when the decision to quit quickly passed out Petri Kontiola arrives to make up for Tappara’s top center deficit.

– It’s about a top player who is highly motivated, Virta emphasizes.

– His desire to leave an image of himself as a team player and for the team as a player is a big opportunity for Tappara.

Kontiola, 39, isn’t the type most suited to Grönborg’s up-down puck, but even if the skate isn’t the slickest, there isn’t a style of play that doesn’t fit with insight and passing skills.

– If there was that (Jori) The grove a gap to go, now there is a player of the same style as possible to replace him: skillful on the puck, intelligent and experienced.

Petri Kontiola last played in the Tappara shirt in the spring of 2007. KARI KUUKKA

What about spring?

An interesting question: is Grönborg’s autumn rally just an underlining of the change, but in the spring we will see more familiar elements from Tappara again?

Hardly, thinks Virta.

– This is now their playing style and identity, he emphasizes.

– I don’t see that it would be worthwhile for them to change anything – but instead, others watch the videos, at which point the pucks are lost and what is Tappara’s world of thought.

Tappara will face SaiPa on Friday and Kärpät on Saturday.

Heikki Liedes (right) and Anton Levtchi (second right) have been the power players of the fall. Tomi Natri / AOP