Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Veto - morning bulb ago" - Joni Pitkänen

Hey, I'll be the first to admit that Joni Pitkänen has come a long way with his English since moving to North America in 2003, apparently with much translation help from Philadelphia Flyers teammate Sami Kapenen. Nevertheless, in interviews he suffers from the same problem that fellow Finn Jari Kurri once had — that is, rather than sounding like a professional hockey player of great skill that can improve our favourite hockey team, the listener instinctively cringes at what sounds like a one-sided conversation with an extremely bored, possibly sleepy, and almost certainly retarded lobotomy recipient with a Scandinavian accent.

To be fair, just looking at written Finnish, with its runaway compound words and liberal use of consecutive umlauts, I'm sure I'd lose about 100 IQ points everytime I opened my mouth in Helsinki. What we learned from Radek Dvorak, of course, is that a man is always more candid speaking in his native tongue, especially when his employer can't understand him (as is the case with Cantonese-speaking ladies on my streetcar, who I swear are making fun of me).
With this in mind, I sniffed around the interweb for any native-language interviews with our enigmatic new acquisition, Joni "minus 25" Pitkänen. In Philly he had a reputation for being withdrawn from other players on the team, so I was looking for clues as to whether he was actually a headcase or merely just sounded like one when speaking to english media.

Unfortunately, free Finnish to English translation sites are few and far between, as well as generally shitty, so I can't put much faith into the translation given. Nevertheless, when asked about playing with the Flyers (I think), Joni had this to say (sort of):

"Beforehand famous rhetoric , that Flyers oli me absorbed. Report travel nevertheless thus considerably, lest them everywhere health tietenkään dangerously takeaway. Veto - morning bulb ago , that Philadelphia oli turnover Fedotenkon. Then diagram liquor selkiytymään , Prolonged speak."

Hm. "Then diagram liquor selkiytymään," might be something, but otherwise we're just going to have to keep an eye on the guy, lest his "Beforehand famous rhetoric" gets carried away. The guy could be bonkers.

In the meantime, picking up a defenceman 22nd in overall D scoring in an off year is basically always a good thing, especially since by the end of the 2007 Sean Hill was looking like a tantalizng offensive pickup.

Indeed, Pitkänen has had his share of cockups in front of his own net and most people will point first to his dreadful plus/minus last year. Yet, a more detailed analysis over at Behind the Net reveals that when Pitkänen was on the ice he accounted for a net +.041 goal differential over 60 minutes for his club last season (nevermind that, at a glance, he was also an impressive +22 in 2005-06 over 58 games). His even strength numbers are indeed gaudy with a 2.74/3.70 GF/GA split for a net -0.96, but not much worse than Jason Smith's -0.82. Smith, of course, played against tougher opponents, but the overall point is that Pitkänen doesn't worry me nearly as much as Sheldon Souray does at even strength, and even at that, he has more upside at 23 than either Smith (a UFA after next season) or Souray.

I think it also says a lot that only the dumbest mouthbreathers on Flyers webboards were happy to see Pitkänen traded, even with a highly serviceable Jason Smith going back in return. Best of all, the Oilers shed themselves of the biggest hex coming out of the Pronger deal, Joffrey Lupul. Watch out, Philly ladies!

26 comments:

twain said...

I'm pretty sure "veto - morning bulb ago" is a quote from Virgil's Aeneid; pretty clever way to stick a literary allussion into an interview about beforehand famous rhetoric.

Good to see Pitkanen has some book learning in him.

Anonymous said...

I dont get it?? I'm a Finnish Canadian and a few words made sense, but the rest was rubbish!
Veto- a shot or a guess
Selkitymään- was apparent
Tietenkaan- wasnt so
oli- was, were

mike w said...

"the rest was rubbish!"

That's because it was supposed to be a translation from Finnish to English, and whatever words are left is from the translation application not recognizing the words.

If anyone Finnish is up for the task of finding any special insights, feel free to take a look and let us know:

http://www.jatkoaika.com/smliiga.php?sivu=kolumnit&id=541

Doogie said...

Sorry. Mine's Russian. Until the Finn with no name can give us some more intelligent insight, I'll have to keep chuckling at the Fedotenko turnovers (because who doesn't, really?)

mike w said...

I also wish I hadn't used the word "nice" in the post on Souray below without knowing the terms of the deal.

If you would like to read something depressing, check out Tyler's latest:

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2781#more-2781

Black Dog said...

And then let the drinking begin. I certainly have.

rickibear said...

Mike W:

I like "Nothing To See Here - Souray Part 2" take on EV Strength. Plus Mc79 post is not depressing. Souray had his career year. I will still take his Average # of goals in the last 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, and I hope that someone that knows Finnish translates for us. The only thing I would dispute is that Pitkanen didn't play minutes that were as hard as Smith. He frequently played on Philly's "shut-down" defensive pairing with first Rathje and then Zhitnik. After the trade deadline, he wasn't used like this and, unsurprisingly, his +/- improved substantially. When the Flyers played at home he was consistently trotted out very intentionally against Crosby, Jagr, Briere and Lecavalier. Those can be pretty tough minutes. I know Smith did the tough work for us and that Joni struggled in his tough minutes in Philly, but I believe that the drop-off in defensive production between Smith and Pitkanen has been really overstated. I would be shocked if Joni wasn't doing the tough sledding in Edmonton and doing a comparable (if not better given how much better our goaltending is than Philly's was last year) than Smith has done.

Scott.

Daniel said...

To this I say simply, atta dinnin stick a who.

mike w said...

heh heh

Lowetide said...

Anyone who can work liquor into the conversation is a friend of mine.

mike w said...

In the spirit of a slow day at work, I will now attempt to decipher Pitkänen's comments into better English:

"Beforehand famous rhetoric , that Flyers oli me absorbed. Report travel nevertheless thus considerably, lest them everywhere health tietenkään dangerously takeaway. Veto - morning bulb ago , that Philadelphia oli turnover Fedotenkon. Then diagram liquor selkiytymään , Prolonged speak."

"I had heard a lot about the Flyers before, and that they are far away from Finland. One day Ruslan Fedetenko pulled me aside and with a raised fist told me that if I gave the puck away again he'd endanger my health. He diagrammed it for me and then we drank some serious beers and gossiped about other players on the team."

Black Dog said...

That is some funny shit.

Love the Finns.

Mattstro Disastro said...

Is a Fedotenkon some kind of gigantic robot weapon?

James Mirtle said...

Now I'm envisioning the two of them giggling like school girls, talking about how big Keith Primeau is.

Wait a minute though... they never played together. And Fedotenko's Ukrainian, not Finnish.

In conclusion, atta dinnin stick a who.

mike w said...

And Fedotenko's Ukrainian, not Finnish.

Hey man, I'm merely the translator. Not a very good one, mind you.

selkiytymään!!!

allan said...

Fedotenko was turned over to Tampa Bay along with a 1st round pick in exchange for the Pitkanen pick.

It couldn't possibly be more selkiytymään.

Andy Grabia said...

Finns always have the worst time speaking English. The Swedes seem to have the easiest. Lidstrom sounds like he was born in Detroit. And the Czechs all sound the same for some reason. A cunning linguist could do thesis work on it all, I'm sure.

Doogie said...

Finns always have the worst time speaking English.

It does bear pointing out here that Finnish is from a totally different language tree (Uralic) than every other major European language (Indo-European). Also, the reason why Swedes have it relatively easy is because both Swedish and English are both Germanic languages (though the former is a North Germanic language, like Norwegian, while the latter is a West Germanic language, like German).

Black Dog said...

Whomp bobba looba a whomp bam boom.

McLea said...

Doogie is our resident Noam Chomsky

Doogie said...

Doogie is our resident Noam Chomsky

Thanks. Ironically, I didn't even know Chomsky was a linguist until I took intro linguistics with a former grad student of his a couple of years back. I just assumed he was poli-sci, because those were the only guys who ever talked about him.

mike w said...

I just assumed he was poli-sci, because those were the only guys who ever talked about him.

Man, I don't miss University at all.

uni said...

Everyone's having entirely too much fun with this translation thing.

fever4flames said...

haahaha i love the bOILER room.

mike w said...

SLOW NEWS TRICKLE ALERT: The Oilers have just signed some players, most notably Colin McDonald to an entry-level contract. Our 51st pick in 2003.

Lowetide has the Lowedown:

http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2007/07/colin-mcdonald.html