When asked if the Edmonton Oilers still need a slugger in their lineup to protect their young players, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said, "We need team toughness."
The conventional wisdom says Tambellini is looking for another goon, this time one that can play a little bit of hockey. The rumor mill says it's Zenon Konopka in his sights and the message boards have roared with approval. If Tambellini has finally realized that tough guys who can't play are useless, that's a step in the right direction. It's two years too late, but it's still a positive. But raise your hand if you thought the answer to Steve Tambellini's search for more team toughness might come from the Lahti Pelicans.
Tambellini signed Antti Tyrväinen to an entry-level contract on Thursday, a move that caught everyone off guard. As Scott noted in the article:
His 23 points in 52 games represent a decent offensive showing, especially considering that was good enough for fourth on the offensively inept HIFK (the team leader scored 33 points in 59 games).Tyrväinen 's 186 penalty minutes, meanwhile, were good enough for tops in the league by a pretty hefty margin (Jere Karalahti was second with 147). Tyrväinen also happens to be 5'10'' and just under 200 lbs. Definitely an interesting player, and he could win a spot on the Oilers fourth line as an agitator.
Tyrväinen isn't just an agitator, he's got a edge to his game. In fact, his entire game is about playing on the edge of legality. If he scores goals like Alex Ovechkin, he'll gain a reputation for just playing hard, leaving it out there, trying to will his team to victory and loving the game. If he doesn't score goals like Ovechkin, he runs the risk of gaining a reputation like Matt Cooke.
Tyrväinen talks like Ville Nieminen:
And hits hard and often, like J.F. Jacques
But often times late and high like Cooke:
Unlike Cooke, however, he's willing to stick up for himself and his teammates and answer the bell when necessary:
But there is no doubt as to the reason the Oilers signed him. They knew what they were getting, a player willing to do all of the things that no Oiler has done in awhile like getting ejected for this knee-on-knee hit on Jussi Timonen:
And being the Sean Avery of the Lahti Pelicans has some risk, like being punched in the head for being dirty:
The offensive numbers are actually pretty impressive considering all of the time he spent in the penalty box, but it's not the offensive numbers the Oilers are interested in: