My first headline for this was “back on my bullshit”, but then Sundays With Miro sounded more pleasant. Tuesday’s With Morrie doesn’t have shit on this.
Miro Heiskanen finishes up the preliminary round with zero points, maybe three or four hits, and if I had to guess about 17 minutes per game. And yet, he’s easily the best defenseman on Team Finland. Unfortunately it took them seven and a half periods to realize it.
Sami Lepisto is fine. Lasse Kukkonen has his uses. They’re older, and vets, especially in a short tournament like this, are going to get preferential treatment. If you have two eyes (hell, one of mine barely functions) it’s hard not to see that Heiskanen is the best skater and passer in the defense corps. I don’t know if he’s the best defensively, but that’s because he rarely had to play defense since he moves to puck so well from his own end of the rink.
Heiskanen is still buried on the second powerplay unit which gets about 30 seconds of each penalty. Late in the game he didn’t even get on the ice for it despite the Finns pulling Mikko Koskinen for an extra skater.
In the Finland win over Norway I was pleasantly surprised to see Heiskanen being more assertive offensively. Against Sweden he was back to being moderately conservative in the offensive zone until late in the game. Even when he wasn’t being conservative he didn’t turn the puck over. The kid is just a machine. When he decides he wants to be an offensive force consistently he will be a monster.
Would it be nice if he had some points? Yes. Would he have some points if Finland had some offensive weapons besides Eeli Tolvanen? Absolutely. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, and Alexander Radulov won’t have that issue however. With a little bit of luck Heiskanen could easily have a goal and four assists in the Olympics so far.
If you don’t feel the spirit of The Lord flowing through your veins this Sunday just yet, you may soon. Here are the gifs. As usual, these are in chronological order.
Miro wins a lot of these board battles.
See? More proof.
At this point it is almost a given that he’s going to win virtually all puck battles.
Here Heiskanen goes skating between two Swedes in his own end to make a safer outlet pass.
He finally lost a battle.
This was the first penalty Miro took from that same play. I mean….eh? Kind of a slash?
Heiskanen dropped some filthy stick language to lead to a prime chance.
Heiskanen now beats all three Swedish attackers to spring a chance. On the broadcast they gushed about Eeli Tolvanen, but he never even gets the puck without this ridiculous breakout.
This pretty neutral zone pass led to another big chance moments later. If Finland had more finishers Heiskanen would be putting some points on the board.
Heiskanen skating out of danger for an outlet pass.
Miro with a smart little chip to avoid Swedish pressure.
Three Swedes, one Fin. Who wins?
Heiskanen skating himself out of trouble once more.
The second penalty call of the day on Heiskanen was also pretty weak.
His passes are so crisp. Here he is springing another chance for Finland.
Heiskanen and Tolvanen on the ice late in the game setting up a great chance off a give and go.
On the very next faceoff Heiskanen picks the puck up and dances into the home plate area for a great chance.
Nothing came from this pass off of the stick of Heiskanen, but think about how ridiculous it is.
Heiskanen had to spot his teammate all the way across the ice. The pass was on the button. It was crisp and flat. It beat almost all of Team Sweden and some of Team Norway without them even being on the ice. Let’s not get carried away with comparisons in a bad tournament missing virtually all of the good players in the world, but that’s a Sergei Zubov/Jason Spezza/Alexander Radulov kind of pass. Unreal passing ability.
If he can ever pull that off in the NHL I may faint. And that’s kind of the point to all of this. The raw skill is obviously apparent. His ability to get the puck out of his own zone is next level and so are both his skating and passing. Now, how does it translate into the NHL?
The smaller rink is going to be a factor in his ability to skate the puck out of the zone, but the broadcast made mention repeatedly of the fact that Finland trains on smaller rinks. Maybe it won’t make THAT much of a difference, but some of these plays are unlikely to happen because these rinks are, in fact, international in size.
Finland should play on Tuesday in a qualifying match to head to the medal round.
Hey, click these:
2/17/18 – Another Night With Miro Heiskanen
2/16/18 – Jeep’s Blues
2/14/18 – An Evening With Miro Heiskanen, Day 1
2/13/18 – Quote or Content: What Drives a Story?
2/8/18 – Team USA Men Would Have Been Really Good