Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans, Liiga, Finland
With Marc Bergevin in Finland, it was up to Jesse Ylönen to prove himself. He is currently putting up similar numbers to what Joni Ikonen had last year: 0.29 points per game compared to Ikonen’s 0.27.
It wasn’t the best week for Ylönen. While he is getting closer to the high-danger area in front of the net, he seems to still draw away from the net and throw off a shot from a bad angle or away from the goal to make something happen rather than make something dangerous happen. Some of the shots really looks like “alibi shots” (i.e. you take a shot to prove you were there, even if it has zero chance of becoming a goal).
Still, Ylönen’s position on the power play gave him an opportunity to get a relay shot off, and he buried it deep into the net.
The goal is Ylönen’s fifth goal of the season, and with almost half the year gone it will be interesting to see if fatigue sets in or if he has adapted to the league and can improve on his game to force himself toward the net for more success.
Ylönen’s development still gives him a bit of an edge when it comes to his underlying numbers. His PDO is more or less neutral at the moment, even if Pelicans still are riding a bit of a PDO wave.
Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia
The Tsar returned to Russia and the KHL this week and faced Sochi in a 2-0 win. It was Saturday’s game in Moscow that was the main focus for CSKA this week, and they managed to beat SKA Saint Petersburg 3-1 after having been down 1-0. The game between the two powerhouses in Russian hockey should be on every hockey fan’s bucket list.
For Romanov, it was a game where Coach Niktin chose to rely on others. The defenceman only played 6:32 compared to the 10:23 against Sochi or his season average at 9:55 before the game. His usage is still following the same principle as outlined in an article at the start of the season — getting less time in the most critical game situations — hence the low usage against a team like SKA.
CSKA owner Igor Esmantovich said the SKA game was “like a preparation for the playoffs,” and while it will be a fantastic achievement for Romanov to be part of a KHL team that will go deep into the post-season, it still looks like he has a long way to go before he can play an integral role come crunch time.
When he does play he rarely makes a mistake. He is solid in his own zone and plays smart in order to facilitate different zone exits.
Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, SHL, Sweden
The Swedish centre played the fewest minutes in a game of his short SHL career against Skellefteå, getting only 12:48 of ice time. Timrå was forced to chase the game against Skellefteå, but they were in the driver’s seat for the game against Rögle a few days later. The team could control play rather than hoping for an opportunity at every shift, and Olofsson was back to his usual self: stable, secure, and distributing passes to his linemates all through the game.
Olofsson is still playing better than his team even of the numbers are starting to match up more closely. His puck luck is atrocious, and it should turn around sooner rather than later. Another game against a team in the lower region of the table comes up on Saturday, and there would be no better game for him to step up in, ensuring that TImrå stays above the dreaded relegation zone.
Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Ikonen spoke with Eyes On The Prize last week in regard to is injury that he suffered in the off-season. He is still expected to return at the end of December or early January.