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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Daniel Larsson says playing in the AHL "isn't much fun"

Grand Rapids Griffins goalie Daniel Larsson recently chose to leave the Red Wings organization to sign a 2-year contract with HV71 Jonkoping (think Russian Traktors or Japanese Furry Bunnies).

Larsson's take? "It's not good for my development if I remain in the AHL. First, they have no goalie coach [there] and the game in the AHL isn't much fun. I've done it for two years now, and [it's the same thing]. There's more to learn than just playing games."

Larsson also disagreed with the style of play Detroit/Grand Rapids employed in the organization.

Detroit's take? They did not comment in the article so I will gladly paraphrase for them. "Daniel, good luck EVER getting another chance to play in the AHL. Your numbers were pathetic in Grand Rapids, except when you played Houston. No, your parking and airplane tickets will not be paid for and/or validated."

My take? I am no goalie expert, but I can see why a guy might not want to play for a team that wants him to do something (if his side of the story is true) that is unnatural to him. I know that if I was asked to sit on the love seat instead of the couch during baseball season, my viewing ability would go WAY down hill.

But to say that the AHL is a) not fun and b) not good for your development? That just sounds like poor excuse-making. I would LOVE to see a list of goalies that started out in North America. Sucked. Went back to Euro land. Got WAY better and then came back to have a successful NHL careers.

Again, I am just guessing here, but I bet that list is shorter than the number of times Wade Dubielewicz put the puck in his own net last year. (Sorry for the shot, Doobie, we definitely love you here at T3I!)

Sorry for the rant ... slow news day.

6 comments:

Ms. Conduct said...

Haha! I love it. I didn't see that stuff about not liking the style and all, but the stuff I have seen, I was thinking, "Um, good luck with that, Danny."

Hope they get someone in there who isn't quite so disgruntled to help push McCollum. Would like to see him do well.

One of my biggest bones to pick with many AHL teams is the lack of coaching goalies get. Props to teams who foot the bill for a dedicated GC for their minor leaguers.

FinnAir said...

Swedish SEL is not exactly the beer league you make it sound like.
Have you ever heard of Tim Thomas? I could name others. Also plenty of older "doomed" guys coming over from Europe and making it in here. Niklas Backstrom? Jonas Gustavsson? Etc.
I'm not sure if you have ever been to or seen any league games in Europe, but I would say that even the 2nd best level in Finland is not much (if at all) behind AHL when it comes to skill. Plenty of guys with wooden hands in here.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

FinnAir,

Thank you for your suck-minus rating and not getting the point of the story. And that is my fault, so let me apologize and explain.

In no way was I making fun of the league itself. The Traktors and Furry Bunnies reference was directed only at crazy hockey names.

The point was to show that Mr. Larsson sounds like a cry baby. And when you make claims (excuses) about the system and the league you play for you better have some sort of numbers to back that up. I think that Daniel Larsson has some talent and I do think that the defense in front of him failed him miserably at times. But, come on, keep those comments to yourself. Go back to a league in which you are more confortable and prove youself with solid play.

And as for the goalies you mentioned, maybe Tim Thomas is a good example. But I am looking for recent goalies that failed in the ECHL or AHL, went back to Europe, played well and then got another shot in North America, the best place in the world for professional hockey.

I am not saying there is not quality hockey to be had in Europe. I am just saying the best, most stable hockey is in the NHL and AHL.

FinnAir said...

Ok, didn't get that, sorry about that one. Jonkoping is the name of the town. HV71 comes from the first letters of the teams that merged in 1971.
These names are another thing that is very different from over here to Europe.

Hard to agree on how one could define "totally sucked"?
If Nolan Schaefer came back from KHL I guess he wouldn't fit this mold?
Brian Rafalski (not a goalie though but...)? He was small and sucked completely and went to Europe and then?

The game in Europe is very different from North America, but I wouldn't say that somebody like Daniel Larsson couldn't
improve there big time and come back. I mean something must be done right over there to have all these Swedish/Finnish goalies coming to play in here... NHL/AHL has the best players to fit this style of play, but I wouldn't agree
that you have the best players. Plenty of very good players in Europe who would never fit the style of play in here, but also
the same thing works the other way around too. Much more "role" playing in here.
Petteri Nummelin? He played for the Blue Jackets, dominated in Europe and then came back to play for the Wild. I would say he is
a very good player who just doesn't fit the style of play here. Peter Zingoni? Hopeless on top level in Europe, could be useful over here?
Completely different worlds, couldn't really say which is the better "form" of hockey. Some things are done better over here, some in Europe.

Did David Leggio suck enough? He did well for TPS Turku this year and let's just wait what happens...

I'm just wondering if anybody has watched the British version of The Office? Excellent comedy. On the other hand I've tried to watch the American version.
Basically the same idea. But I just don't find it funny. I would expect that Americans wouldn't "understand" the British version? I might be wrong...
Anyways, thanks for the reply Andrew and do expect me to misunderstand in the future too. Only a good thing though? To get some banter going...

Ms. Conduct said...

Loved both versions of The Office but find the American one more comfortable. The UK one gets SOOOO awkward it hurts sometimes. But I'd still watch it and LMAO.

Completely agree that some skaters are just better suited to the European game. And I feel like I can articulate that with examples better than goalies. I've never talked to a goalie about how different it is for them, but I have less of a sense of it.

Schaefer is an interesting case because I wouldn't say he didn't make it here. I'd say he could just make a ton more money over there. He was making a VERY good salary here for the AHL, but few AHL teams are willing to pay that kind of money in the minors, even for goal scorers.

The bottom line for me with Larsson is that he didn't exit real gracefully. On one hand, I like that. I'd rather hear that than, "I enjoyed my time with Detroit and appreciate the opportunity." But also, damn, way to burn bridges and look sour, dude. And if you think GMs aren't gonna remember that, regardless of how well he does in Sweden, I'd think again.

Of course, the stats win the day every time, so if he goes over there and makes himself irresistible, then a little divatude might be forgivable. But it certainly doesn't grease the path.

I can't speak for Andrew but, for me it was more the way he did it than what he did. I think there's a ton of luck in making it to the show, knowing the right people, getting the right chances, getting some breaks, etc. and I think you can do that better when you're on the radar, and I think you can be on the radar better when you're in-country.

But who knows what will happen for the guy? That's the fun part of my job covering the AHL's goalies. It will be interesting to see how his story unfolds.

(M4)

Forecheck said...

"Daniel Larsson says playing in the AHL 'isn't much fun'".

I guess tht depends on who you play for.

I doubt playing for Houston was much fun, particularly near the end of the season (talk about pathetic). What with fans wearing paper sacks over their heads, etc........... oops.

@Finn : Ah, yes, the pink bunny team. A reference to the Kokudo Bunnies of one of the Japanese leagues (maybe a semi-pro league).

http://www.frosken.com/hockey/kokudof.jpg