Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby pens_CT on Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:05 am

When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby DelPen on Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:01 am

pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


Have you seen him play at all during the pre season?
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby pens_CT on Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:55 am

DelPen wrote:
pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


Have you seen him play at all during the pre season?


Yes I have seen him play and he has played well. It's also preseason hockey which isn't nearly at the same intensity as the regular season. My point is after all of the players this organization has drafted from Despres, to Pouliot, to Morrow, and Harrington etc., this guy seems like he belongs, but people are way overestimating his capabilities based on a handful of meaningless games. All I am willing to say is that he is better than Ruhwedel which makes the Pens top 7 depth stronger than we expected going into the season. Let the guy experience some regular season games before we nominate him for the Norris. Maybe he will continue to surprise or maybe his performance levels off, but in any case he seems like he is ready to contribute more than those other high picks that turned into zero for this team. Considering he is an undrafted free agent he seems to be a really good return on their investment.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby longtimefan on Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:50 am

Pruezy11881 wrote:
murphydump55 wrote:
LimerickPensFan wrote:From DK's piece:

Rutherford hinting Riikola may stay up:
I asked Rutherford, following the game, to assess Riikola’s overall showing.

“Yeah, you don’t know how long the adjustment’s going to take. And he’s obviously made that in the preseason,” Rutherford told me. “He needs to build on what he’s doing, but he’s had a terrific preseason.”

Has he made the call tougher on the GM than he’d thought it might be?

“Not at all. Not at all. I mean, I knew he’d be here to start the season.”

Wait, what? To ‘start the season?’ As in start out in the NHL?

The man politely declined to elaborate.



He knew so well that he went out and signed Jack Johnson and created a road block for Riikola.

Right he knew.

You can't say he didn't. At one point after the pens signed him, JR stated something to the effect that he wouldn't be surprised if Riikola pushed for a spot on the roster.


I don't think JJ's signing is related to Riikola at all. One is a veteran you expect to step in, and the other is a guy you've got high hopes for. European free agents are a crap shoot. Vegas' prize last summer was Shipachyov, who ended up playing three games. He was a bit different, because he was older, but remember 2015, when the Pens signed Plotnikov after losing out on Panarin? People are skeptical about Riikola, and rightly so. There's a reason this is his first opportunity in North America. But Panarin wasn't drafted either. That's obviously the extreme, but there are legitimate late bloomers. Panarin came over as a 23 year old. Regardless of where he is on the depth chart right now, you can't pass on a guy not costing you an asset. Nor do you put all your eggs in one basket.

https://theathletic.com/364425/2018/05/ ... o-riikola/

I broke down and bought a subscrition to The Athletic. The article is dated May 23. It's an interview with Sami Kapanan, who was the owner/GM/Coach of Riikola's team. JR did say he was a good player who had a chance to start in Pittsburgh. We shrugged it off as pretty much GM speak. To refresh some memories though, this is what Kapanen had to say.

Seth Rorabaugh: He is listed at six-foot and 190 pounds. That would suggest he is built for the modern NHL, which largely expects defensemen to be smaller, quicker skaters. Is that accurate?

Sami Kapanen: Pretty accurate. He’s not heavily built, but I would say the strength, the weight and the power are pretty good. He’s really stable, strong on the skates. The skating is fluid. It’s almost to the point that you’re not sure if he ever goes 100 percent, even when he’s pushing himself. He’s a little bit like … don’t take me wrong, (Senators defenseman) Erik Karlsson is effortless and Juuso is a little bit the same. He’s kind of dancing on the ice. It’s effortless skating so that way he can play a lot of minutes. At his weight, he’s still strong. He can create a lot of power on the ice through his legs. He can hit pretty hard. … Kind of running around knocking players down. He can play a physical game. But he’s more like a skating, solid two-way defenseman.


SR: So he’s pretty capable of getting the puck through the neutral zone and attacking the offensive zone with speed?

Kapanen: Yup. He can join the rush. He can lead the rush with his skating. His individual skills are in the elite level. Hands-wise, he can make some plays. He has a heavy shot. He’s not the type of the defenseman, the offensive-minded defenseman that are looking to putting the numbers up. He’s playing to win. He’s solid two ways.


Kapanen: He was pretty much the leading defenseman for us on the (penalty kill). On the ice, he was really solid. If we had a 3-on-5 (penalty kill), we usually went with the two forwards and Jusso. We tried to ride him as much as possible on the (penalty kill). His numbers offensively might have been better if we didn’t use him as much on the (penalty kill). But with his mobility and his skating, he can be just a force on the (penalty kill) with the initial pressure on the puck when the (opposing) power play is entering the zone. He can make the difference on that.


How much of an adjustment do you think it will be for him to get used to a smaller North American rink?

Kapanen: I think he might take a little while. At the same time, I’m fairly confident that he will adjust quick. Here in Kuopio (Finland), the junior practice rink is at 26-meter ice surface, which is pretty much NHL-sized. So he gets to deal with that. We usually start the season the first couple of weeks over there. At other times, we might practice there. I’m sure he will be skating this offseason quite a lot at that rink to get the feel. Some of rinks in Finland, actually most of the rinks are the 28-meter ice surface, which is kind of halfway from the NHL to the Olympic size. In Kuopio, we play the Olympic size.
I would say there isn’t any difference on him playing on the 28-meter or the Olympic-sized ice surface. Other times, I think it’s an advantage for him because he’s such a good skater. With the smaller ice surface, he can make the difference. He can really play with a tight gap defensively and beat the forward on joining the rush. I’m kind of excited for him to get the opportunity to play there.


Looking back, the praise seemed a bit over the top, so was shrugged off. Just a sales job. After his first few practices, somebody was talking to Maata to get some information, and Olli said he had little doubt he's play in Pittsburgh this season. So their were plenty of indications. We just didn't believe any of it. :)

We have no clue how things will turn out. Paul Bissonette was once a training camp darling. Sprong's camp at 18 is why they have the mess with him now. Riikola's star may fall as quickly as it's ascended. But it wouldn't be a surprise if he became a fixture by season's end. Not to start though. Not if everybody is healthy. Last Thursday, all the dmen practiced, and he wasn't in the top 6. He's ascended to the true #7, but he hasn't passed anybody else yet.

It isn't important where he starts. Injuries and performance will dictate when he gets his chance. He may start the season here, depending on Dumoloin's injury. I would expect him to spend some time in WBS though. You want him playing. I'm excited about the kid, but it's tempered. He hasn't done anything yet. But JR's confidence and Kapanen's sales job don't seem so far fetched. It's a great coup if he becomes a regular, now or later. Anything more would be a bonus.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Puck-Lurker on Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:57 am

pens_CT wrote:
DelPen wrote:
pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


Have you seen him play at all during the pre season?


Yes I have seen him play and he has played well. It's also preseason hockey which isn't nearly at the same intensity as the regular season. My point is after all of the players this organization has drafted from Despres, to Pouliot, to Morrow, and Harrington etc., this guy seems like he belongs, but people are way overestimating his capabilities based on a handful of meaningless games. All I am willing to say is that he is better than Ruhwedel which makes the Pens top 7 depth stronger than we expected going into the season. Let the guy experience some regular season games before we nominate him for the Norris. Maybe he will continue to surprise or maybe his performance levels off, but in any case he seems like he is ready to contribute more than those other high picks that turned into zero for this team. Considering he is an undrafted free agent he seems to be a really good return on their investment.

The big upside of Riikola is his waivers eligibility.

He can start down in Wilkes and no players Ruhwedels will be claimed on waivers claimed by Shero. If injuries start to come up, and you can bet they will, he can be called up. He can then either be on training and nacho duty or be the viable option Sully goes for. Once folks are again healthy, he can be safely returned to the baby Pens and await his next chance. And that's fine. Riikola has a handful of pro seasons under his belt in Finland, you can bump him around without worrying about growth or progress.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby pens_CT on Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:45 am

Puck-Lurker wrote:
pens_CT wrote:
DelPen wrote:
pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


Have you seen him play at all during the pre season?


Yes I have seen him play and he has played well. It's also preseason hockey which isn't nearly at the same intensity as the regular season. My point is after all of the players this organization has drafted from Despres, to Pouliot, to Morrow, and Harrington etc., this guy seems like he belongs, but people are way overestimating his capabilities based on a handful of meaningless games. All I am willing to say is that he is better than Ruhwedel which makes the Pens top 7 depth stronger than we expected going into the season. Let the guy experience some regular season games before we nominate him for the Norris. Maybe he will continue to surprise or maybe his performance levels off, but in any case he seems like he is ready to contribute more than those other high picks that turned into zero for this team. Considering he is an undrafted free agent he seems to be a really good return on their investment.

The big upside of Riikola is his waivers eligibility.

He can start down in Wilkes and no players Ruhwedels will be claimed on waivers claimed by Shero. If injuries start to come up, and you can bet they will, he can be called up. He can then either be on training and nacho duty or be the viable option Sully goes for. Once folks are again healthy, he can be safely returned to the baby Pens and await his next chance. And that's fine. Riikola has a handful of pro seasons under his belt in Finland, you can bump him around without worrying about growth or progress.


I agree that he probably starts in WBS even though he appears to be better than Ruhwedel because of the waivers issue you mentioned. I do think if one of the top 6 are going to miss multiple games because of injury that Rikkola is the likely replacement.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby FLPensFan on Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:19 am

pens_CT wrote:
Puck-Lurker wrote:
pens_CT wrote:
DelPen wrote:
pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


Have you seen him play at all during the pre season?


Yes I have seen him play and he has played well. It's also preseason hockey which isn't nearly at the same intensity as the regular season. My point is after all of the players this organization has drafted from Despres, to Pouliot, to Morrow, and Harrington etc., this guy seems like he belongs, but people are way overestimating his capabilities based on a handful of meaningless games. All I am willing to say is that he is better than Ruhwedel which makes the Pens top 7 depth stronger than we expected going into the season. Let the guy experience some regular season games before we nominate him for the Norris. Maybe he will continue to surprise or maybe his performance levels off, but in any case he seems like he is ready to contribute more than those other high picks that turned into zero for this team. Considering he is an undrafted free agent he seems to be a really good return on their investment.

The big upside of Riikola is his waivers eligibility.

He can start down in Wilkes and no players Ruhwedels will be claimed on waivers claimed by Shero. If injuries start to come up, and you can bet they will, he can be called up. He can then either be on training and nacho duty or be the viable option Sully goes for. Once folks are again healthy, he can be safely returned to the baby Pens and await his next chance. And that's fine. Riikola has a handful of pro seasons under his belt in Finland, you can bump him around without worrying about growth or progress.


I agree that he probably starts in WBS even though he appears to be better than Ruhwedel because of the waivers issue you mentioned. I do think if one of the top 6 are going to miss multiple games because of injury that Rikkola is the likely replacement.

Too bad there are no games until Thursday....Riikola is out there with Letang today, in place of the injured Dumoulin. No better way to see how he holds up than pairing him with Letang in an actual game. Will be interesting to see if there is any updates on Dumoulin and Sprong today, and if they will be ready for opening night.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby largegarlic on Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:40 am

I agree that while Riikola who looked very good, the most we should conclude right now is that he's a better #7 than Ruhwedel, even if Riikola starts in WBS due to his waiver status. I remember not that long ago when we were talking ourselves into thinking that Tangradi and Comrie could work as Malkin's wingers after a couple good preseason games.

That said, if Riikola can continue to play like he did in preseason in the real games, I think he could be a good 2nd-pairing guy.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Puck-Lurker on Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:32 pm

FLPensFan wrote:
pens_CT wrote:I agree that he probably starts in WBS even though he appears to be better than Ruhwedel because of the waivers issue you mentioned. I do think if one of the top 6 are going to miss multiple games because of injury that Rikkola is the likely replacement.

Too bad there are no games until Thursday....Riikola is out there with Letang today, in place of the injured Dumoulin. No better way to see how he holds up than pairing him with Letang in an actual game. Will be interesting to see if there is any updates on Dumoulin and Sprong today, and if they will be ready for opening night.


I think Riikola is a logical enough option if it's Letang or Schultz out.

I tend to think of Juuso as the offensive-minded type, though I could be much mistaken. If so, I'm not sure three of that mold on the team will make for a winning formula. They'll far more likely sub in Ruhwedel if it's a solid type like Dumoulin out with an injury.

Who knows though. They could carry him on the roster if Dumo gets time in IR. I just don't see it happening.


I'm predicting Sprong and Dumo out for opening night. After which, the Simon love affair puts Sprong on the bubble eating nachos in an echo of the first season. (Not entirely undeserved, just mostly so)
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Hot Dog Vendor on Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:10 pm

Jim wrote:Do you people hear yourselves? When did Riikola become Nicklas **** Lidstrom? Who gives two **** if a guy that will be turning 25 in two months yet has not played a second of regular NHL hockey starts in WBS for a little while. I know that it has been a long off season but christ...


Image
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Puck-Lurker on Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:24 pm

Hot Dog Vendor wrote:
Jim wrote:Do you people hear yourselves? When did Riikola become Nicklas **** Lidstrom? Who gives two **** if a guy that will be turning 25 in two months yet has not played a second of regular NHL hockey starts in WBS for a little while. I know that it has been a long off season but christ...


Spoiler:
Image

Someone slashed the tires of the Riikola-wagon.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby danish_penguin on Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:23 am

This guy is gonna be great for the Pens. Of course it's the preseason but 2G, 2A, +4, 11 SOG and 18:40 TOI/G in 6 games is good and by far better than any defenseman not named Kris Letang.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby pressure=9Pa on Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:58 pm

pens_CT wrote:When you consider the lack of defensemen this organization has drafted and developed over the last 18 years or so, the bar has been set pretty low, so it's no wonder why people are excited by Rikkola.


True. I haven't been this excited to see a d-man since Ben Lovejoy. I mean, he was a +42 at WBS, he was going to be great!
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Maestro on Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:43 pm

Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby pekkasteele on Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:14 am

Jim wrote:Do you people hear yourselves? When did Riikola become Nicklas **** Lidstrom? Who gives two **** if a guy that will be turning 25 in two months yet has not played a second of regular NHL hockey starts in WBS for a little while. I know that it has been a long off season but christ...


You have to remember the hype we have here for Finnish free agent signings!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06b9ARRtuNE
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Jim on Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:05 am

Maestro wrote:Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.


Wow
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Maestro on Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:55 am

Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.


Wow


Juuso in there rather than Dumo last night and Pens win 6-3
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Jim on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:20 am

Maestro wrote:
Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.


Wow


Juuso in there rather than Dumo last night and Pens win 6-3


Wow
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby stonewizard51 on Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:59 pm

So maybe we'll see Riikola tomorrow night then. Maatta wasn't all that hot either. :roll:
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Puck-Lurker on Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:05 pm

Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:
Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.


Wow


Juuso in there rather than Dumo last night and Pens win 6-3


Wow

I wasn't aware Riikola could play goalie...

Colour me impressed.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Hatrick on Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:13 pm

Puck-Lurker wrote:
Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:
Jim wrote:
Maestro wrote:Rikkola will be a very solid top 4 dman for years to come.


Wow


Juuso in there rather than Dumo last night and Pens win 6-3


Wow

I wasn't aware Riikola could play goalie...

Colour me impressed.

I knew he could play either defense side but sure underestimated his adaptability if he can play goalie.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby murphydump55 on Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:08 pm

danish_penguin wrote:This guy is gonna be great for the Pens. Of course it's the preseason but 2G, 2A, +4, 11 SOG and 18:40 TOI/G in 6 games is good and by far better than any defenseman not named Kris Letang.


Mike Comrie, Victor Stalberg, and Derek Armstrong were the 2009 pre season scoring leaders.

PRE-SEASON!

Cool your jets on Riikola until he actually plays oh, maybe 20 games against true NHL lineups.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby Pens4Life on Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:22 am

Riikola is very good and smart D,but he will have his rookie ups and downs for sure... it will depend a lot on coach MS, games and minutes management. I hope he makes it, I like what I saw from him in few games..
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby thehockeyguru on Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:28 am

Pens4Life wrote:Riikola is very good and smart D,but he will have his rookie ups and downs for sure... it will depend a lot on coach MS, games and minutes management. I hope he makes it, I like what I saw from him in few games..


I'd like to see him get a start here and there over Maatta.
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Re: Juuso "Cough Drop" Rikkola Dilemna

Postby LimerickPensFan on Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:33 am

thehockeyguru wrote:
Pens4Life wrote:Riikola is very good and smart D,but he will have his rookie ups and downs for sure... it will depend a lot on coach MS, games and minutes management. I hope he makes it, I like what I saw from him in few games..


I'd like to see him get a start here and there over Maatta.

I'd rather see him playing in Mohegan Sun Arena than sitting in a press box in PPG Paints Arena.
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