Inside the NHL: After missing out on the AHL playoffs, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has to improve his toughness | Buffalo Sabers news

The biggest disappointment for both the Buffalo Sabers and Rochester Americas was that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was unable to stay on the ice for the Calder Cup playoffs.

Sword is clearly similar to Lukonen’s game, to the point where it is generally assumed that the 23-year-old will start next season as half-goalkeeper. The real question is whether he can stay healthy. This will be an important summer for him back home in Finland.

Lokonen has already undergone double hip surgery. He had a pair of severe ankle injuries that halted trips to the NHL. His season in Rochester ended on April 29 when a goal collision against Utica caused a hamstring problem that the Americans quickly knew would take four to six weeks to recover.

“Certainly how important that game is in and of itself, he’s not going to walk out of that game if there’s any chance that it’s just an adjustment,” Americas coach Seth Appert said Friday. “So it was important. We understood it right away.”

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Lokonen was very close to returning, to the point where he would have started his fourth game against Laval on Friday night had the Americas survived Wednesday’s triple marathon.

“It’s really frustrating to be out of those, especially when the last game of the season happened,” Lokonen said Thursday on America’s closet cleaning day. “You kind of play in those matches. You’re really happy to see how well we’ve done as a team and everyone has been playing really well. It’s nice to be a part of that and to see everyone doing so well, but it’s always difficult when you can’t play.”

AmeriX, General Manager Jason Karmanos, counts on the playoff round in favor of Cypress

After getting help on the last day of the season to qualify for the playoffs, the Americans had their most successful run since 2004.

Lukonen was 2-5-2 in nine games with the Sabers but had strong numbers with 2.74 goals-to-average and 0.917 saves. And remember, all his appearances came in the first half of the season when the Sabers were struggling several nights and didn’t have Matthias Samuelsson and Owen Power in their defense yet.

His overall numbers at Rochester were infantry (15-14-6, 3.28/.900) but the Americas were weak in defense once Samuelson and Casey Fitzgerald were at Buffalo. What stood out was Lukonen’s finish in Rochester over the last eight games – when he went 4-2-2, 2.45/0.921. Six of those matches were against playoff teams.

“I thought at the end of the season he looked like a dominant goalkeeper,” said Appert. “And he was carrying himself the way I remember him when he was training against him at the World Championships (under 18), the World Junior Championships, I thought he was back in that place from a mental and physical perspective. So it’s definitely frustrating not to be in the playoffs because he looked like a goalkeeper who was ready to run.” .

Lukonin is 6 feet 5 and 217 pounds tall. It covers a lot of networks. But it’s also hard to be that big. Players are more prone to collisions and have to be exceptionally flexible as well.

“I wish I had that problem, to be honest with you. I wish I was such a great goalkeeper,” joked fellow Rochester goalkeeper Michael Hauser, who has been with Lokonen for parts of the past three years at both Rochester and Cincinnati. ECHL. “Ukko is young. He’s still figuring out his body too. If I was that old, I might have had the same things (in terms of injury).”

Houser, 29, said he didn’t feel fully comfortable with what worked out with his body during the season and in his summer training until he was 25 or 26.

“You train in the summer before that, but until you really get a feel for your body and what works for you, it’s kind of a trial and error,” Houser said. “He’ll find out. I’m sure of that. He’s very smart. He works hard not to do it.”

“A lot of guys between 6 and 5 are really thin and skinny,” Appert said. “It’s actually quite thick for a 6-5 guy and it’s a good weight.” “He’s doing fine. But I think there’s an acclimation period that a big guy like him has to go through in terms of being able to handle the weight he is, the height he’s at, and having a heart that strength and coordination go together to try and give you the best chance of staying healthy.”

What can Lokonen do? Appert revealed that Sabers spoke to him about studying yoga to help with his flexibility and core strength, and even improve his mental focus. Lokonen admitted again Thursday that it can be difficult to stay motivated during the AHL season rather than NHL games being played in full boisterous arenas.

“This guy is spending a lot of time,” Appert said. “And I think it’s just reaching an age where his body is ready to take on the weight that it is.”

“These injuries can happen and you can’t always do anything about them,” Lokonen said. “But you always want to be as prepared as possible. So I think just commuting and these kinds of exercises would be good things to do.”

The important thing for Sabers is that Luukkonen has been furloughed for full off-season training and is no longer rehabilitating injuries.

“This is his first season underway…in a long period where he is in good health now he goes off season where he can focus on his training and not about rehab or coming out of surgery,” said Cypress Assistant General Manager Jason Karmanos. “He needs to play games but he played well when he was top this year for us (at Buffalo).”

“It’s hard to sit back, and obviously I’ve learned from these matches, which you’re kind of targeting for an entire season,” Lokonen Siad. “But it gives you that motivation for next season. You know how big these matches are and what they mean to everyone. You want to do the most to give yourself a chance to play those meaningful matches.”

So Capfri He flipped his position to 2022-23 last week, giving the GM chair the opportunity to look into building new teams for next season. when you Put swords togetherDon’t forget to add $791,667. It’s the last time you have to do this.

That number is the acquisition number for center Cody Hodgson and he will be outside the Cypress roof after next season. a ticket?

Hodgson signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension on September 11, 2013, two months before Darcy Rigger was fired from his position as General Motors. Tim Murray bought the deal and it had an annual ceiling of $4.25 million on June 30, 2015, with four years to go. This means that the sum of $6.33 million was spread over eight years. The Sabers are finally close to getting out of the deal. Even with Hodgson’s money, the site lists Sabers with $43.1 million in NHL cap space as summer approaches.

Incidentally, Sabers still pays defenseman Christian Ehrhoff $85,143 every July 1 through 2027, but that number doesn’t cross the cap because it was a compliance buy in 2014 coming in the wake of the 2013 shutdown. Reports Ehrhoff, who retired in 2018 after playing For two years in Germany, 44 when he gets his last payment.

• You have to give it up to Laval announcer Anthony Marcotte, who had a strong call on JS Dea’s triple-overtime series winning goal on Wednesday night in Rochester. Sure enough, he sounded like he was screaming “Labor Day! Labor Day! Labor Day!” But I assumed it was something in French.

no. That’s what it was. Beat the sword branch. in May. The goal scored by a player named “today” is pronounced “today”. Twitter Marcotte late Thursday, “A sincere homage to the legend who has just retired, Mr. Rick Jennert.”

• With the Calder Cup playoffs continuing into the weekend without them, the Americans had the numbers 2-3-4 on the scorers list after the post-season in Arto Rutsalainen (8-4-12), JJ Petrka (7-5-12) Peyton Crips (0-11-11).

Appert on Peterka: “This is the guy I don’t have a chance to put on the ice in October and November in pressure-filled defensive moments. By January, February, March and the play-offs, you’ll put him in the center of the biggest moment: a penalty, 5v6. He’s become a defensive player. Great. We saw what his offensive line was, but his 200-foot game and what he started to associate the points with is that the better he defends, the better he works, the more insult he gets.”

• One issue from the Rochester Marathon finale: The AHL still does not provide player ice times or shot attempts on their post-game stats sheet. Thus, we weren’t laughing at some wild numbers you had from a game that lasted 101 minutes and 51 seconds.

I would have loved to have seen how many minutes Petrka and Casey Fitzgerald had on the ice in that game. Or how many attempts to shoot Jack Quinn (I bet it was about 15). Come on, AHL. It’s 2022. There’s a statistic crew in these games and all they do is plus and minus?

• Conor McDavid vs. Nathan McKinnon? Involve me. It will be interesting to watch the TV ratings for the Edmonton and Colorado West finals. McDavid was so good that he should be able to push the boundaries when it comes to American hockey fans, who have been watching these playoffs in numbers 15% to 20% higher than in recent years on NBC and NBCSN. There is no doubt that ESPN and TNT have had the desired rating effect.

• Florida was a total flip against Tampa Bay. No goals scored by Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexander Barkov or Claude Giroud. One by Sam Reinhart. The Panthers were 1 for 31 in the power game of their series, and frankly, they were lucky to beat Washington in the first round. I’m still waiting to see if Andrew Brunet has removed the temporary trainer tag or if the Panthers are looking elsewhere.

• When Jack Eichel traded with Vegas, there were legitimate concerns that Sabers would have picked 31-32 in the first round of the draft – the Vegas and Florida Cup final scenario. Instead, finishing with picks 16 and 28 is a much better scenario than Kevin Adams & Co. expected.

• Tampa Bay has Andrei Vasilevsky in goal and your team does not. this is the difference. Since the third period of Game Six against Toronto, the world’s best goalkeeper has scored 0.71 goals against average and 0.980 saves.

• I wonder what’s going on with St.Louis goalkeeper Phil Hosseau now in free agency. For $750,000 this season, he went 25-7-6, 2.56/.919. But in the playoffs, the 27-year-old lost his job to Jordan Bennington and finished 2-5, 3.67/.890. How many years and how much money do you give now?

• When Binnington fell in Game 3 vs. Colorado, the Blues had to have an emergency backup in case something happened to Ville Husso. Who was he? Joey O’Brien of Suburban St. Louis, who played 26 games mostly as a reserve at Niagara University from 2015-19 and went 3-11-2 with the Purple Eagles.

The EBUGs shouldn’t happen in the playoffs but the Springfield Blues farm team is still in the AHL playoffs so they didn’t have a third guard on hand.