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Mikko Koskinen returns to Europe


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Mikko Koskinen has signed a two year deal to play for Lugano of the Swiss league.


  I am not coming here to bury him, but to praise him. All joking aside, I know that a lot of people loathe him as a goalie but he has been a favorite of mine for a loooong time.


  Quick does anyone know what his first NHL game was? Give up? It was one of my all time favorite hockey games, if you can call it that, Koskinen was playing for the Islanders making his NHL debut because the last time th Pens/Islanders met at the end of the game Brent Johnson, backup goalie for the Penguins beat the crap out of Dipietro and broke his face. The Islanders called up every thug from the New York prison system who could stand on skates and just pummeled the Penguins with one bloody beat down after another for the entire night. Godard of the Pens got a 10 game suspension for coming off the bench and going after Trevor Gillies who was beating up goalie Brent Johnson. Gillies got nine games. Of all the non Wings games, this may be my favorite of all time. I still watch the highlights (lowlights?) about once a year. Koskinen got the win, got in three more games was sent down and then at the end of the year went to Europe.

  He became probably the best goalie of his time in the KHL. He dominated while playing for one of the storied elite franchises, St. Petersburg SKA winning three championships in his 7 years in the KHL three times his goals against was sub .200 he was simply too good for the league, at years end I would look at the KHL stats, wondering what kid prospect was coming to the states and every time I would have to look down below Koskinens numbers as he usually had better numbers than kids who were being raved about.


  Edmonton in desperation signed him and I admit I thought it was a great idea, he won like 10 of 13 or some such and looked like a world beater and then the GM who shall remain nameless or @JR Ewingwill start frothing at the mouth and chew up a table leg made the inane decision to base a month and a half or two months of damn good goaltending and signed him to a long term deal three years at 4.5 million per. It would have been like giving the Hamburgler the keys to the kingdown of Ottawa after his great run.

  He never had a good game again.


Okay, not quite true, he was maddening, he would put a streak of five or six games really good games, mix a brilliant 40 save shutout in the mix, you had to think this was it, he had turned the corner, he was finally going to get it all together and then the bottom would fall out, he would give up two in a row gloveside, start overcompensating and exposing his five hole and have a half a dozen games where he gave up four goals a game in each. He was never truly good. He was never truly bad. You cannot fault him for the contract, hell he would have been an idiot for taking what an idiot offered. 


  I watched him, I remember when he signed to come over on a tryout posting in here that it could be a great sneaky good signing as he always dominated the KHL. Because of the memory of watching him the one game the Islanders beat the hell out of hated pittsburgh, because his numbers were so much better than anyone in the KHL and I talked him up in here after he signed a tryout deal, I always rooted for him. The numbers were a mixed bag but not terrible, his time in Edmonton he was 83-61-13 with a 2.99 goals against, last year, likely his final year of stopping NHL rubber he went 27-12-4 in a time share with Skinner and Smith. 


  He is gone, not the worst goalie ever to don an NHL sweater but possibly the worst contract which was more the fault of his GM than his. 


  Peter Chiarelli. There I said it JR. Blame him, not Koskinen who for half the money woulda been a bargain, lol



Edited by yave1964
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1 hour ago, yave1964 said:

  Peter Chiarelli. There I said it JR. Blame him, not Koskinen who for half the money woulda been a bargain, lol



I never hold what a player makes against him. I may bemoan the impact on the team's salary cap situation, but never the player. Good for him, I say; get every penny you can because your career is short. The thing that most aggravated me about the Koskinen contract was that the Oilers fired Chiarelli the next day, which I though pointed to a serious level of dysfunction in the organization. Who allows a manager to sign a player to a contract like that when they're ready to let him go any minute? Why would a team do that?


Because Oilers.


Anyway. My only issue with Koskinen was that he was unreliable on a game-to-game basis. If you watched him on a good night, with his size and even demeanour, he looked good, and you thought they had their starter. On the next night, he might let in a goal on the first shot he saw. Sometimes he did it on the second, and in four different games, I saw him let in 4 goals in the first 4 shots on net.


Seems like a really nice guy, too. Signing to play for Lugano will be a GREAT move for him and his family from a lifestyle standpoint, so I'm nothing but happy for him.




Edited by JR Ewing
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