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[Table] IamA Finnish-American who just completed Finnish military service, AMAA!

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Date: 2014-06-24
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So i know you cant go into specifics but how was boot camp like? And how does it differ from the typical image of FMJ american movie bootcamp? Also what are the main weapons used by the Finnish army? By and large, it's a lot more chill than what you see in movies (and probably what one experiences in the American military) since 99% of the people that come to serve are compelled to do so. I like to imagine that the more hardcore troops that use conscripts, like the Special Frontier Jaegers, have something closer to crazy drill instructors the likes of which you can see in movies, but I still doubt they're as bad because the Finnish Defence Forces forbids, to use an American term, "cruel and unusual punishment" (such as "You didn't address me as 'Sir'?! Drop and give me 50!" or "Oh, Private Gona, you say you can't last? Just for that, you get to run an extra 10k on top of what you're doing now! Enjoy!").
Boot camp was really just dropping us into the normal routine with strong discipline. It's shock enough. Wake up, morning run, move in order to the shower, go eat, start the day's service. We spent a lot of time in marching drills (which I use as a catch-all term to mean marching, ceremonial and practical weapons handling, and other formation and order practicing) and the auditorium (the FDF has this system of education that goes, essentially, "learn the theory - this is the auditorium part -, see how it's done in practice, practice it yourself," which is how we learned to use RPGs, track mines, claymores, etc.). We had some intelligence/aptitude tests (used, in part, to determine if you were suited for going onto a junior officer track), and in general a lot of studying and tight discipline. After we got out of basic, we started specialising in our units, which meant about the same amount of studying, but we also ended up having less ridiculously tight discipline, since everyone knew what they were doing. And now that we were out of basic, it was easier and made more sense to start really bonding with the guys in our units.
You can see the main weapons here, but we use the RK 95 TP as our AR, and got training on the KES 88 and APILAS (which are the only two current weapons on that list that are small enough for us to transport dozens of kilometers on foot). The Frontier Jaegers are a light and quiet type of troop, which means we don't use any of the vehicles on that list except for some trucks for transport and the occasional chopper for supply drops.
Actually NLAW is almost as heavy as APILAS and it will replace it in following years. Also NLAW is much better technology wise. We never used the NLAW, just the APILAS. I doubt that we'd be carrying it around behind enemy lines during wartime, anyways. 66 KES 88, I imagine, would be the most we would use.
Hi, I actually did pretty much the same thing as you did. I'm a full Korean but I've lived in Belgium for my whole life so I have dual citizenship as well. I got into boot camp on 11 March 2012 and got discharged as a sergeant on 12 December 2013. That's 21 months of blood, sweat and tears for my country :) Props to you for doing this, serving your country is really something you should be proud of. As I was in a similar situation I am very interested in this topic, therefore the excessive amount of questions. Please excuse my curiosity. *Do you have honorific language in Finnish that you are required to use to superiors ? *How are the ranks divided among conscripts themselves ? I'm wondering if you were allowed to "talk back" to superiors. In Korea, we have to strictly obey all orders whichever they were from ALL superiors. (everybody in your batallion that went to boot camp 1 month or more sooner than you were considered as superiors, also everybody with a higher rank were superiors as well.) *What kind of job were you assigned after basic training ? Is it according to what your field of study at higher education or is it just random. *Did you shoot moving targets as well? And would you consider yourself a good marksman ? *Did you make a lot of friends on base ? Would you consider them friends for life ? For us, there were just Border Jaegers and Over-Border Jaegers (the second one is just a fancy version of the first), and there's a rule in the Finnish military (or at least on our base), that you don't have to use honourifics and such with people from the same "class" (saapumiserä) as you. We didn't have the time to set up and shoot moving targets, unfortunately. Six months is a short time. And I'm an OK marksman. Some days I shoot REALLY well, some days not so well. I would have liked to have more time to practice my shooting form. So, I finished as an Over Border Jaeger (In US terms as Private First Class, in Finnish as Ylirajajääkäri), which was the higher of the two ranks you can get as a "grunt". The junior officers in the company start as Corporals (Alikersantti - Under Sergeant - in Finnish) and can get up to Sergeant (Kersantti), which is just the next step up. And the officer cadets (upseerikokelas) almost always get promoted at the end to Second Lieutenant (vänrikki), which is the highest they can go. We had a small company, so we probably have a smaller range of ranks that you can get (because there are a few ranks between Sergeant and Officer Cadet), but there ya have it. The promotions are essentially merit-based. How well have you done in the field examinations, in field exercises, etc., based on what the instructors have seen and what your direct superiors tell them.
*Were you allowed to go home during the weekends and were you allowed to go on leave? And did you have alot of free time? *Are you physically better in shape than you were before ? *What rank did you get discharged at? And how does your promotion system work ? And is there a ceiling you can reach as a conscript? We usually had weekend leave. Friday at 1400 we were allowed to leave base, and had to be back by Sunday before midnight. So I managed to go home (Finland home, not US home) for a day and a half or so, since there was travel time. In the evenings, assuming we managed to do cleaning service before dinner, we usually had from roughly 1730 until 2115 for free time if there was no extra service. I personally chose to become the assistant to the unit's radio operator, so I learned how to use the radio just as well as him. I think I was the only conscript on base who had had time to go to university, and it didn't affect my service at all. There were some people who had prior experience in medical things, and they chose and were usually accepted to be the assistant to the unit's medic. I'm in a LOT better shape than when I started. So many muscles, and so much better running. My endurance is a lot higher, it's great.
There were only a small handful of women in our company. And I should note that we weren't professionals, but just training to join the reserve.
I did make a lot of friends, and I definitely will keep in touch with them.
Aww yiss, another rajajääkäri (serving at Onttola to boot). Did you guys freak some delicious havoc at the loppusota? Yeah, it was great. I had a friend who took a Vekaran viestimies prisoner. Here's how it went down. (Let me preface this by saying that we were using blank cartridges.)
They were doing some scouting, and they were heard by a guy on watch, who challenged them. They said 'Suojatkaa kuulonne!' and watched as the guy had to take off his helmet, put on his ear protection, and then his helmet again, and by that time, my two friends were there in front of him. 'You are our prisoner now.'
They start walking, and after a few hundred meters, he says 'I can't do it anymore! (En jaksa enää!) Please let me go! If you let me go, I'll give you cookies.' They laughed and told him that they still had 72 hours of walking to go. He didn't like that.
Later, they get challenged by another guy on watch. They give the prisoner his gun back and order him to march toward the guy on watch, who didn't yet see them. They ran to cover and watched as the prisoner walked toward a guy that was his ally. The prisoner got shot at by his own ally. And my friends laughed.
And here's another.
I had a friend on a scouting turn early in the morning. He's getting near a small outpost: a tent with an anti-air machine gun nearby for defence and strengthening the place. He found that there was no guy on watch. He sneaks up and turns the gun toward the tent, which is probably where the watchman is. He didn't know how to shoot the gun, but he left a nice note telling them to have better watchmen and generally messed around in the area, marveling that no one noticed. Just amazing.
Why is the time spent in the military so short? Did you ever consider staying in longer? Do you think the US should adopt a similar program, why or why not? They've been slowly decreasing the maximum time (back in the day, it was 12+ months even for the grunts) as the perceived need lessens. Currently, 6 months is the minimum you can serve, and the amount of time you serve is related directly to the place and company you choose to serve in, as well as whether you choose to go onto any kind of leadership track. Some service places have 9 or even 12 months of service for the grunts, and in the Frontier Jaeger company, the junior officers and officer cadets serve 12 months (347 days, to be exact).
I didn't consider staying longer because that would have put me on a leadership track, and I didn't, at the point that I had to choose, consider my Finnish to be good enough to do it. Now I almost regret it, because I've had such a good time, but it's a different experience in the two officer courses, which are finishing in a couple of months for our company, so I wouldn't have had the same thing.
In my opinion, the US doesn't need conscription. Conscription is good for a small country like Finland, which can't afford to maintain a large standing army, but can, by conscription, field a larger military force if necessary. The US has both a ridiculously large military budget and and a large population. So no need.
How long was your training? Wiki page says basic is 8 weeks, was there more training before you got to your actual duty station? 6 months is crazy short, my training alone in the US Army was seven months and some jobs require a whole year. I think the minimum total contract is 3 years. The other comments here are totally right. We had 8 weeks of basic, then roughly 8 and 7 of more training before being sent off to the reserve. That's actually an interesting difference, and I should probably write in the title that I'm not and wasn't a professional soldier, but just a guy training for the reserve.
It probably comes down to money and the fact that a 12-month minimum service period would push a lot of people to non-military service or trying to get a full exemption due to "mental problems", which isn't all that hard. Sad but true. Maybe I should have gone to the erkkarit after all.
I've heard that Finnish is one of the most difficult languages to learn. How did you find it? I've grown up with it (I fit the definition of an heritage speaker, someone who has just an incomplete/non-native acquisition of the language), so I don't think it's necessarily too difficult. The thing is just that it's very different. For me, I have issues with which case to use where, and adapting the morphology to the word I'm trying to use. By this point, after 6 months in Finland, I speak well enough to get my point across, but it may or may not have a few errors in case usage or word form.
That said, I wouldn't say it's any more difficult for English speakers than any other language that shares few similarities to English. I mean, the Romance languages and the other Germanic languages are nice for anglophones because they share a good deal of vocabulary, word order, and grammatical features. And all told, that accounts for most of the languages of Western Europe and the Americas. I think a lot of speakers compare Finnish to these languages when thinking bout languages. TL;DR - "Finnish is one of the most difficult languages to learn" is seen by linguists as BS.
My first question is: How do you feel about finnish army. Was it rough? How were the people? I wish you all the best with your future! It was fun. Especially when we weren't suffering. But it was pretty rankka, as to be expected. We would have end marches of 30km on average at the end of our field exercises, which was really fun if you had rakkoja or something else wrong with your feet. But generally, I feel like it was just the right amount of difficulty/roughness. I wasn't in very good shape at the beginning of it, so the way they ramped up the difficulty worked out well for me. The people were generally awesome. Friendly, interested in hearing about the US and how the food/people/weatheenvironment was compared to there. I made many good friends! Good stuff, good stuff! Were you called a Korpraali? I'm an Ylirajajääkäri, which is fun to try to make my friends who kind of speak Finnish say.
Second and last question: What are your plans from now on? Will you go back to US or maybe start serving in Finnish army? I have almost no plans right now. I didn't manage to apply for university here, unfortunately, so my only plan is to apply next spring. I'm going back to the States in July, and I'll find some work there until I get some pääsykoe kutsunnat.
So, how many pieces of you are still in Hiienvaara? So many pieces. Saakelin Paha Oinasvaara. I miss Hiienvaara, it was so nice and calm there.
Which of the marches was your favorite (I know it's difficult to pick a favorite - they're all so fun!)? Do you still have lots of explosive/mine/IED training? I've heard that Onttola training has been transformed to be more scouting/recon based. We actually have almost none of that. We trained a little bit with telamiinat and kranaatit, but mostly the pioneerit in the unit handle the explosives and we all do a lot more tiedustelu. It's fun to do it when going up against gonahdanut tykkimihet during loppusota.
I'm facing "intti" in a year myself. Was the Frontier Jaeger training hard/difficult? My grandfather and uncle both completed the same training and I've been wondering about that myself. It was, not gonna lie. Mostly because I wasn't in all that great shape. I had only 2700m for the Cooper at the beginning of basic, which was on the lower end of what people had, and my strength was pretty poor, too. I don't, unfortunately, remember what I did on my lihaskuntotestit in basic, but at the end I had 40 pushups and 41 crunches in a minute each, which was below average and average for the company respectively. I'd recommend at least 2800m and some 40 and 40 for the tests if you're coming in so that you won't suffer for being out of shape, but as long as you have sisu, you'll be fine.
I should say that Onttola is an AWESOME place to serve. Small company, good food, excellent instructors, cool things to do. Watch out for Ltn. Mäkelä if you go, he's the tarkka-ampujien kouluttaja, and he's super ankara ja vihainen, but also the best shooting instructor in Finland.
Does the US actually recognize your dual citizenship, or is it just that both countries recognize your citizenship unique to them? I hear people say they are a "Dual US citizen" frequently but I was always under the impression that the US honors no such thing, and that if you are a US citizen you are expected to be loyal to our government alone, and choosing to fight for another country would see your status here rescinded. As someone who has actually enlisted in a foreign military, it would definitely seem to put you in a grey area. Can you explain more about what steps you went through concerning gaining approval of the US for this undertaking, any assurances you received or had to give, etc.? Also, you say it's your dream to live in Finland. You are 23 years old. What are the road blocks you have experienced from living this dream if you already maintain Finnish citizenship? What is holding you back? You know, I can't say for certain what 'recognising my dual citizenship' would look like. In practice, I suppose that both countries consider me to be, in theory, a loyal citizen. There were no issues with the States, and I'd done research and seen how many other dual citizens had done it, and that it was fine because Finland and the US are allies/not in tensions. When I went through US Customs during leave, the officer simply asked how the service was, and then sent me on my way. No issues whatsoever. And this may have to do with the fact that I wasn't a professional soldier, but just training for their reserve.
Well, I went to university in North America first, since my Finnish at the time wasn't really good enough to go into any kind of program in Finland that interested me. And after a bit more dawdling, I figured it might be a good idea to go through intti to get my foot in the door. So, really, nothing except for the things I was doing. I should note that only until recently was this a very vague dream, which is why I didn't more actively go for a Finnish path.
Hypothetical here. Would your service prevent you from joining the US military if you wishes? I know it would affect your ability to get specific postings and clearances, but I'm unsure about just enlisting or commissioning. Yeah, I wondered the same thing. I think that I would probably have to avoid enlisting altogether because I know a good deal of sensitive information, and I wonder if any of how I would work in an American unit would be influenced by my Finnish training. Furthermore, I think there would be issues if I got called to fulfill my oath in Finland during the threat of war. How would I get out of any kind of American military service in that case?
And yeah, I've looked at government work in the States, and my dual citizenship prevents me from going too high with security clearance and the like, unfortunately I'm wrong.
Edit for clarity: I would personally not enlist so as to avoid any conflicts between my two duties.
Also, my Finnish is terrible, so I was nervous about how that would be for me. Was it harder for you given that your Finnish was weak going in? Heh, I was in the same situation as you. I was working a job that was easy to leave, and had already finished my Bachelor's. It was possible to leave, and the government paid for my plane ticket, so it was almost no hardship on my finances.
How does your military service fit in with school/work plans and whatnot? My Finnish was terrible, but immersion and forced usage is the best way to improve. If you can follow orders (or at least learn what the words mean somehow to follow them) and memories the things you have to say, you should be fine. We had few things that required a lot of reading (one kind of aptitude test which had a language section that was rough). So it was hard and exhausting at first to learn Finnish and the things they were teaching us both at once, but it's doable.
Did you just put everything on hold? I messed up and wasn't proactive enough with my post-intti planning, so for now I'm headed back to the States for work until the next step.
Wow, I was considering to do the same thing. I too am a Finnish-American from North America with a Finn mom and US dad, and have visited my moms family.a fair amount. Although my choices went different as I am currently 24 and in the Air Force. But I have contemplated moving to Finland when I get out. Any experiences or tips you would like to share? Would doing the intti in later 20's be possible/benificial? Or should I just skip that part? It all hinges on how good your Finnish is, I'd say. If you don't have any other skills to contribute, then at least your Finnish should be pretty good. Intti is a great way to get your Finnish and your body into shape. And I found that I profited from being a little older because a lot of the guys were still kids and immature, so I had a bit of a leg up in that way. But if you were to do civil service, that would probably be beneficial in the same way, and give you some contacts. I'd say that you'd have to plan out a bit and line up what you wanna do before you get there, because otherwise it'll be a bit rough, because you really will be in a foreign country, no matter how much your family may help. (A little devil's advocacy/pessimism for ya.)
Mostly. To be honest, I haven't seen a whole lot of "FUCK YEAH FINLAND"-type stuff, but maybe that's because I'm used to seeing crazy American nationalism. Certainly, a lot of the guys serving with me were happy to serve, and proud to be Finnish, but it wasn't the kind of negative nationalism where you set it up against another group. There was no "Fuck the Russians/Swedes" kind of stuff (except in a joking manner, especially with hockey). But maybe that had to do with the fact that we were so close to Russia and everyone knew someone that was Russian or had Russian heritage?
Finn here checking in. Everyone is proud but no one talks about it. Only some skinheads like to boast. Just as in every country, I suppose.
As an American citizen serving in a foreign army, does that cause any problems in the US? Are you always pulled out for extra screening or something at airports? Actually, I went back to the States on leave in late April, and I told them at Customs that I was serving, and there were no issues. The guy asked me "How is the Finnish army compared to ours?" and I told him "More chill, really fun," and he sent me on my way. Easy stuff. I imagine it'd be different if there were any tensions or friction between the two countries, but Finland's been moving toward the West slowly since the 70s, so I'm sure there's plenty of good feelings between the countries since we weren't getting too buddy-buddy with the Soviets.
What do you mean, Finland has been moving slowly towards the west? Finland has always considered itself a western country. Its coat of arms is the Finnish Lion wielding the straight sword of the West while trampling the curved saber of the east. Indeed, Finlandisation. Finland has always realised that it occupied a very precarious position being so close to a large and important city to the Soviets/Russia. For this reason, and to avoid a repeat of the Winter War, Finland sought in the post-war period to make itself as non-threatening to the Soviets as possible while still maintaining its sovereignty. Hence not joining NATO and a number of Nordic organisation and having good (and at times, preferential) trading relations with the USSR. As the threat the USSR posed began to wane, the later terms of President Urho Kekkonen saw the country begin to move toward the West, as it had long wanted. I wrote a paper on Finlandisation and Finnish-Soviet relations in the postwar period back in university, which I could dig up and share with you, if you like.
Hi, a native Finnish guy here. What was the reception for you in the army? Did you have a good time with everybodyelse or did they take you as a stranger? I came to intti with the idea that Finnish men are generally quiet, sober, and ankara, and my experience broke that idea. Everyone was curious about why in the world would a jenkki come to intti willingly, and wanted to know how what I was experiencing compared to my experience in the States. Everyone was super friendly, and the only thing that ever prevented me from becoming friends with people was my language skills. That said, I did make friends, and at the end, the company voted me as the rehtisissi. So, it went surprisingly well.
I work for a US defense contractor and I got to spend some time with the FDF Armoured Brigade near Hameenlinna. It was interesting to see the conscripts out for ski and snowmobile training. Their winter uniforms are super badass. We used to try and greet the guards in Finnish to see if we could get them to respond in kind. We considered it a win if they didn't come back with "Have a nice day" thus proving our obvious Finnish language deficiency. I assume you got to do some of that winter training? If so, how was it? Well, we started in the beginning of January, so yeah, though we didn't have any crazy cold weather (that is, -30 Celsius). Basically, it was just 'wear more clothes, change underclothes and socks frequently, stay warm, but not too warm.' So we otherwise did our normal stuff. Clear an area for the tent, set it up, find firewood and set up the stove that warms the tent so we don't freeze at night. It's easier to do our scouting jobs because of the snow and it's uncomfortable to be a watchman when the wind is blowing in your face and it's really cold. We skiied a good deal, built fancy and compact snow forts for defensive positions at our camps, and generally tried to stay warm. The darkness sucks, though.
If I recall in January, it got dark around 3:30PM and the sun didn't come up until about 9:30 AM. Yeah, that's about right. A few hours of sunlight if you're in the southern half.
Why do you have a dream to live in Finland? I've lived all my life visiting Finland during the best parts of the year (the month or two of summer), I've read/heard/learned a lot about the government, the society, and especially the social security system, and I've always thought things work a lot better in Finland than in either Canada or the US. I've always been proud of my Finnish heritage and very interested in the language and the country in general. And my love for the country and its people has only grown in my experience here.
How is your Finnish now compared to what it was before the service? Insanely better. At the beginning, I understood NOTHING about the casual banter in the bunkroom (because in Finnish, formal and informal language are much more different than in English) I understood barely half of the orders and commands (which are not particularly complicated language or syntax) and relied on copying what others did and asking all the time what was said.
Here's a nice little anecdote: At the end of basic, we had a field test on everything we'd learned, and I got to one stage where an officer cadet ordered me to march forward. After a few paces he said "Taivas alkaa viheltää," and I had to stop and ask "What does that last word mean?" He responded in English "whistle," at which point my training kicked in and I dove into cover, yelling "Suojaan!" I think I lost points because I had to ask what such a simple word means, haha.
But now, I understand 99% of everything. My biggest issue now is vocabulary, but with immersion, it's expanding all the time. So it worked out really well.
Were they really chill about translating stuff into English for you or was it kinda snobby? I'm an American living in a country where not speaking the local language is split between taboo and accepted. That was one of the few things that they actually put into English for me. I generally figured it out or they defined it in Finnish.
If need be, could you raise a family of three off the salary? I can't say on a professional military salary. We were really just guys training to be sent off into the reserve, and I think we're lucky to get 5 euros per day during our service (and it's slightly higher for junior officers and officers). Fortunately, for those that need it, the government covers other expenses during that time, but I think you'd be better off just working if you can.
Hi, another sissi here, II/12! Congrats for your TJ0. Did you have to go through some sort of a test/challenge to earn your sissihavu? If yes, what was it like? I got my sissihavu right after the tiedustelijan tutkinto. Which was cool because I had just come from leave in the States, and as soon as I got back to base, I went to the tutkinto. And then somehow won. Maybe that was my challenge, to do the TieTu while jetlagged? But in general, there was nothing too special to do, just do your job and do it well in the perusharjoitus!
What did you have to do?
What was your most "sisu" moment during training? We had one end march where my 'battlebuddy' (taistelupari), the unit's radio operator, had been evacuated because he got pretty sick, and I ended up carrying all the radio equipment on top of all the stuff in my pack, adding about 10kg to my already heavy pack. That was fun. I developed some hardcore chafing on my feet and it was rough, but I made it to the end.
How/why did you choose the Frontier Jaegers or did they assigned you there? Funny story. I studied Russian in university, and asked my aluetoimisto if there was anywhere that I could end up using it during my service time. They said that Onttola was possible because it was near the border, and generally recommended it. I said 'Eh, good enough for me,' because I didn't really care where I served. It was fortuitous that I had such a good experience!
Does the Finnish military only really consist of going on a 6 month long fishing trip and talking about how you wish you were really a Swede? Probably in Ivalo or Vekaranjärvi, but where I was, we were too busy going on forced marches and avoiding bears. Most of the people were wishing they were Russians so they could more easily get cheap cigarettes, snus, and gas. (Admittedly, when we had weekend leave, most of the people lived close enough to the border that they went and bought that stuff anyways.)
Did you try snus yourself? And if you did, how would you rank it on a scale from "loved it" to "best ever"? Nah, I couldn't be bothered to.
Ivalo's jaeger company is one of the most toughest places in FDF. Tjue Alik 1/08 Jääkäriprikaati. Jee, hölmöilin, heh. Tietysti työ ootte kovempi ku myö siellä Onttolassa.
Jee, hölmöilin, heh. Tietysti työ ootte kovempi ku myö siellä Onttolassa. Yeah, I fucked around, heh. Of course you are tougher than me in Hollowby. Whoa, that's pretty damn close. Though instead of 'me,' it should be 'us.'
I'm considering buying a Sako TRG-22 - made in Finland and used by the Finnish forces (I believe). Did you have any experience with this rifle and if so do you recommend it? I think that's the civilian model, which is probably just about the same as their TKIV 2000. I haven't fired it personally, but I have spent a lot of time with it (my unit's sniper gave it to me sometimes when he didn't want to carry it on marches, and I understand, because it sucks to carry 30k). That being said, I can't speak for any of its qualities other than that my unit's sniper loved it.
Can you tell me about the field knife you were issued and how you liked it? I find it interesting to hear not only about military approved and issued knives, but how someone who has used them feel about the knive. Thanks! Hrm, I don't even remember, it was some Swedish company. It was an OK knife over all, sharp enough for splitting wood and cutting ropes and such. I wouldn't recommend it if you're gonna be using it a lot and a lot. But it might be that one that you're looking at is better than the ones we have. I ended up just buying a so-called sissipuukko, sissi knife, which is a nice 8 inch blade, nice and solid.
How did you feel at TJ 0, exited? Sad? Both. It still doesn't feel real that I'm not going back to base next Monday. It feels like I'm just on a nice little leave. I already miss the really interesting things that we were doing, and especially the camaraderie (ryhmähenki is definitely a better word for it).
Even less than a year after my service I still sometimes dreamed that my TJ 0 wasn't done correctly and I had to serve another 9 months. Haha, I bet I will have dreams like that. People have the strangest dreams relating to intti.
Hello! I just left Finland. I was there visiting for a week with my mom. We went to helsinki, rovaniemi, and kuopio. I'm half Finnish and I wanted to see the "homeland". Where are you from? What's your favorite thing about Finland? I'm from New England in the States and Pohjois-Savo (for which Kuopio is the capital) in Finland. I don't know if I have a favourite thing about Finland. There are so many things. The nature, the culture, the fact that everything works (more or less - I don't want to be too political here), the people, and so on. It's just a nice place to be, in my opinion.
Last updated: 2014-06-28 09:26 UTC
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[Table] IAmA: We are Yahoo! Sports' NHL hockey experts, here for the 3rd round of the playoffs. AMA!

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Date: 2013-05-31
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Will the Sharks ever win the Cup? And will it be in my lifetime? Depends. How young are you? -SL.
How old are you? -Sam.
29. You got some time. Next year will likely be the last hurrah for their main core. It will be interesting to see what kind of moves Doug Wilson makes this summer. Does he go for broke next year and stock up or keep an eye to transitioning the team into Logan Couture's hands. -SL.
1) Do you find it problematic that the final 5 teams were the last 5 teams that won the Cup? No, and I think this story is woefully overplayed. NYNJD/PHO/LAK in the final 4 last season, a.k.a 1994/2003/NeveNever.
On a scale of 1 to Vancouver, how ugly would it have gotten if Seabrook hadn't scored that game winner in OT? And do you think a Chicago loss there might have led the league to actually take a look at the officiating? I've been consistent in saying there was nothing wrong with Walkom's call. Players make far, far more mistakes than officials do - and missed/wrong calls tend to even out IMHO. -SM.
3) Do the Leafs re-sign Bozak or does he walk? I think he re-signs, and I think it's important to Kessel that he does.
What is the Stanley Cup Final match up that you want to see? Pittsburgh-Chicago. Two star-studded teams who play entertaining hockey. Think we'd see a similar series to Detroit-Chicago - the way hockey's meant to be played. - SM.
Pittsburgh vs. Chicago. But mostly because those are my picks. - Wysh.
What's the consensus opinion about next year's realignment plans? Do you guys like the divisions? What teams do you think are poised to be in the best position for a long time? I like the geography of it, and love Columbus moving East more than Detroit, whom I believe the West needs for TV purposes. But the playoff format makes me nervous. -Wysh.
What was the biggest downfall for the Sharks in the second round? An inept road PP? The Torres suspension? Not screening Quick? Something else? Not taking Game 2 in LA. Rare will be the opportunities to beat that team on home ice. -Wysh.
San Jose being top-heavy, LA stealing Game 2, and LA being better. -- HM.
Thanks for doing this guys. Can we talk 2014 Olympics briefly? What are the real chances we don't see NHL players in Sochi? Could you also give us a few guys pushing to make the Team USA roster? Zero percent chance the NHL doesn't go to Sochi.
Quick should be the Team USA starter. Two names I'm intrigued by: Derek Stepan and Kevin Shattenkirk.
Wysh.
They'll go. 90% they'll go. -Sam.
With the new divisional realignment set for next season, do you think teams like Carolina and 'Lumbus will have any chance to hang with the other teams in that division? it seems it's expected they'll be perennial punching bags. The way the playoff situation will work under realignment, there are going to be some good teams missing the postseason. Teams like the Canes and Blue Jackets will have a tough time cracking the divisional top 4. -SL.
As someone who has never watched the sport, what should I pay attention to when I put on a game? What was the best goal or play that you have witnessed? Pay attention to what players without the puck do, whether it's getting open for a pass or defending a play.
If you could hang out with your favorite player, what beer would you drink or what sci-fi movie would you watch together? Don't just watch/look for the puck. Watch how the players skate to find space and create scoring chances. I would drink an Old Speckled Hen with Karl Alzner and MST3K the shit out of "After Earth" Pick a player wand watch them for their entire shift.
When was your first experience with hockey? First experience was playing in my driveway with my older brothers. We used milkcrates as goals.
Where will Ryan Miller land? Where will Luongo land? Will it be on the Isle or elsewhere? Miller's an interesting one, because I'm not sure where the options are. Could Philly kick the tires? The Islanders? What about a team that really needs an upgrade like Edmonton?
Luongo ... sheesh, who knows? -Wysh.
After what Mike Babcock has done with this year's group of Red Wings, is it too much of a stretch to say he is the clear-cut best coach in hockey? He's now won the Cup, Olympic Gold and several IIHF Championships at various levels. If not, who would round out a Top 5? Not sure if he's the "clear-cut" best because other coaches deserve kudos too...but if you want to say Babcock's the best coach in the NHL, I won't fight you on it. -Sam.
Any thoughts on the supposed Islanders interest in Luongo? "Interest" is the key word. All teams have interest in players. 29 teams have "interest" in Sidney Crosby. Reality says the Islanders don't take on such a long-term and rich contract, given their current spending habits. -SL.
I still comes down to whether Luongo would play there. How this fact seems to always get ignored in fantasy trade casting is beyond me. - Wysh.
I think they're interested, and I think Luongo would go there. I honestly think the idea that he'd only go to Florida is overblown. He himself said he never vetoed a trade last summer, and while that's been reported, I don't buy it. I think he just wants to play, and I think he'd happily do it in Long Island/Brooklyn. -- H<
My jersey has 44 and "Pickles" on the back. I love it, and he chuckled when he signed it, but: Nickname = Jersey Foul? (If yes, I'll dig up a picture and you can publicly humiliate me.) Tough call. There's some thought that an official nickname might be OK. But those are the people with No. 28 Jiz jerseys.
How do you feel about torts "dismissal"? He didn't become a horsebleep coach overnight and the Rangers' decision to not keep Prust and Rupp didn't help him. But he's not the right guy to direct this roster. - SM.
Had to happen. Players stopped playing for him, and it's gotten to the point where Lundqvist needs to win every playoff game 2-1 or 1-0. That's untenable. - Wysh.
Why can't Michael Ryder catch a break? He dented the Stanley Cup. It's a curse. -SL Link to sports.yahoo.com
Which basement dweller team do you see having a breakout season next year and making a run at the playoffs? At some point over the next 2-3 seasons the Oilers and their young talent will breakout. Right? -SL.
Last week I made the clutch Twitter decision to unfollow Wyshinski and follow Mooney instead. I'm happy so far, but what are your thoughts on the decision? Your "hockey song parody" intake just increased by 100%. -SL.
I can only assume palpable boredom is your path to happiness. #CallTheYawning - Wysh.
You know you can follow two people, right? In fact, I've heard you can follow more than two and you don't even have to pay or anything! For real though, Wysh sucks compared to me. Sucks. -- HM.
Who will win the first game between Chicago and la and what will the score be? It's in Chicago, the Kings have struggled on the road, so...LA, obviously. Final score: 12-8. -Sam.
Is it possible to pick against Gabe Landeskog? -SL. Seriously? It's Henrik Lundqvist. No contest. He's the most beautiful person in the world. Even Tortorella thinks so... -Sam. Yes, because Henrik Lundqvist exists. Give your head a shake, Leahy. -- HM.
How will the Kings defend their title? Hopping on Jonathan Quick's back and hiding in Penner's beard when things get, uh, hairy. -SL.
Has the sharks window closed entirely? so much talent and regular season dominance for so many years and not even a single stanley cup appearance to show for it. Not at all. One more kick at the can in 2013-14 before Jumbo and Marleau go UFA. - Wysh.
Sharks still have a couple years left with this core. -Sam.
Do you think this post seasons "do no harm" policy regarding headshots and suspensions is the new line going forward? What I mean is do you think the bar has been raised yet again in regards to what constitutes a good hockey hit? Great point and it has. Players going to have to think really hard about making open-ice hits after the Gryba hit on Eller in the Sens-Habs series.
As a disgruntled Caps fan, do you read anything into the Rangers lack of penalties at MSG (In the Bruins series as well)? They were a disciplined team in the regular season too -- fewest minors. - GW.
They lost some Burkian truculence with the departures of Prust and Rupp. More a matter of discipline than any conspiracy theory re: MSG.
I've got a theory that if Pittsburgh wins again the cup this year or next year, Malkin is going to want to leave the Penguins to take on a new challenge and have his own team instead of being on Crosby's team. Am I crazy? Ah, yes, The Scottie Pippen Theory. Think both are quite happy to be Penguins, winning titles, all of that. -Wysh.
Is the NHL ever going to get over the fact that penalties in the regular season should also be penalties in the playoffs? Powerplays and Penalty kills are an important part of the game too! I do think they're getting better at it. Intensity and physicality gets ramped up in playoffs compared to regular season, so it's difficult for refs to quickly adapt to more rugged, clutchy-grabby style of play. -Sam.
Do you think the history between Jagr, and the penguins is gonna add some more tension to the game? Probably more for the fans than the players/teams. Jagr left Pitt so long ago, he doesn't have much of a connection to today's cast of Penguins.
Do you think that having Torey Krug will make a change in the win loss ratio currently held between the two? ___ If the Bruins are relying on Torey Krug to continue being the difference-maker, I think they're in trouble.
Do you know if Tim Thomas is still going to the islanders, or do you think he is retiring ? My guess is we don't see Tim Thomas in the NHL again. -Sam.
Do you guys hate the sharks as much as every other eastern media sight does? I was pulling for the Sharks to win the Cup this year. Best story ever. - Wysh.
Are you kidding? I've predicted the Sharks to win the Stanley Cup for the past 8 years in a row... - Sam.
How does one hate Joe Thornton or Logan Couture or Patrick Marleau? OK, so Jeremy Roenick hates PM, but... -SL.
Sharp or Lundqvist? Too much handsome there to choose. -SL.
Do you guys think the situation in Phoenix will ever get sorted out? Do you think it's more likely they stay or get moved if it does? Is that you, Shane Doan? -Sam.
Seriously...no idea...it's been a soap opera for a decade and the NHL has owned/run the Coyotes for 3+ years...but for some reason, I think it gets sorted this year. The league will find a buyer who'll keep Coyotes in Phoenix. For a while, anyway. -Sam.
I'm sure there have been many questions about coaching with the recent firings, but who do you think is Vancouver's best option for a coach? And what do you guys think the Canucks need to to do win a Stanley Cup? Re-tool, re-build? Thanks! Whoever gets Lindy Ruff will be very happy. But my 5-cent guess is that he doesn't end up in Vancouver. The window to win is still open for the Canucks. I think they got a couple years left with this core. -Sam.
Are the Sabres crazy for keeping Regier at GM? Seems like when you miss the playoffs 4 out of the last 6 seasons there's a talent problem that should have been addressed. I was surprised there wasn't total regime change, but Darcy did some good things at the trade deadline. - Wysh.
I know nothing about hockey. At all. I live in Raleigh, and my coworkers have way too much to say about the Hurricanes. Can you give me something smart to say to get them to leave me alone about my lack of hockey knowledge? Or at least a talking point that will get them to converse amongst themselves for ten minutes? You should to go a Canes game. The atmosphere there is incredible and they might have the best tailgate party in the NHL. -SL.
Tell them you won't rest until Marc Staal is a Hurricane. -Sam.
Which do you think we will see first: The leafs win the cup, the return of halley's comet? How about Sidney Crosby's beard will finally grow in? -SL.
What am I, an astronomer? -Sam.
Jonathan Quick: Robot Ninja, or Cyborg Jedi? Robot Sith, like Cyborg Darth Maul - GW.
I know this doesn't relate to this playoff round, but do you see the Lightning making it to the postseason next year? It's going to be awfully difficult in their new division once realignment kicks in. They'll have tough competition from the Bruins, Habs, Red Wings, Leafs, Sens, and maybe an improved Sabres team. -SL.
No secret that the Bolts need to improve defensively and get better goaltending. I like the potential of Bishop-Lindback tandem. -Sam.
Rask, Crawford, Quick, or Vokoun? Quick every day of the week. -SL.
I'd f--k Crawford, marry Quick, kill Rask and pin it on Vokoun.
That was the question, right? - Wysh.
Will Toews show up this series? Short answer is...yes. He's too good to be held off the scoresheet for long. And don't forget he does a lot of things that don't show up on the scoresheet, too. - Sam.
Now that San Jose is out, the road to the Stanley Cup no longer goes through Vancouver. This streak lasted three years. What fresh area of pain will Canucks fans use to fill this void of victimhood? Maybe they'll trade Roberto Luongo, the goalie, in exchange for Roberto Luongo, the head coach? - Sam.
Where do the NY Islanders go from here? i don't know where they stand for draft picks, but with their current youth, you'd think now is the time to trade for some star power. Do you think they retain Nabokov? Other than goaltending where is the most pressing need? I think the Islanders need to package picks and prospects and upgrade their defense. Get a true, veteran stud back there. Maybe come knocking on Vancouver's door for one, in exchange for younger players.
Wysh.
Hossa is in the same buyout conversation as Richards. Assuming NY and CHI pull the trigger for safety's sake, where do you think they land as UFA's? do you suppose they'll take cuts or just sign somwhere at the same rate for shorter deals? I'd be stunned if Hawks buy out Hossa this summer. Richards...you know, I think the Rangers will keep him...but if he bets bought out...how about going back to Tampa Bay? -Sam.
1) How strongly do you believe in advanced statistics? 2) I may be wrong, but the NHL had indicated that they wanted to start officially recording advanced statistics. Do you know which ones they have planned? Although I'm an old-fart sports journalist, there's a big appetite for advanced stats. Cam Charron who writes for our Buzzing the Net blog, is one of the best out there. Going to read a lot more from him in the future. Link to ca.sports.yahoo.com
Why hasn't Vokoun broken into your Conn Smythe watch? Here's been serviceable, not spectacular. Malkin, Sid and Dupuis have been better. - GW
Due to the capitals early round exit, do you guys think ovechkin will want to be traded because he is unhappy with Washingtons postseason performances over the last 5 years? Nah, I think Ovechkin is a Capital for life. Which is sorta the problem. -Wysh.
What do the St. Louis Blues need to do to get a cup? Who do you see in net for them next season? And can you see them shipping any of the mainstays (Stewart, Oshie, Backes, etc) away for a real-deal center? Money goaltending in the playoffs is a good place to start. Otherwise, there's a lot to like about the Blues. -Sam.
Who gets booed more in Boston -- Matt Cooke or Jarome Iginla? Uh, Matt Cooke. And it's not close. -Sam.
After I pointed out to a friend yesterday that the last four cup winners are still in contention, all dominant American franchises, he asked me what I thought of the NHL rigging games so that Canadian teams don't make it very far into the playoffs. Why do so many Canadian hockey fans go about our teams' failures as if we were cheated? The only people who should be blamed for the Canucks not winning a game or the Leafs collapsing in Game 7 or the Sens not being able to compete with the Pens are the teams themselves, wouldn't you agree? There hasn't been a good conspiracy sine the moon landing -- and Montreal won the Stanley Cup that year. -Sam.
What team is going to make the most drastic moves this offseason? How will teams like Philly, Vancouver, and San Jose get out of cap jail? I'm watching Buffalo, Colorado, Edmonton, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Philly (always Philly), Tampa & Vancouver. -Sam.
No Lambert still? Ugh. Who will the Rangers hire for their next head coach? Messier? Ruff? Maurice? I like Ruff for the Rangers. Vigneault has been getting some mention too. -Sam.
Who do you believe is front runner right now for playoff MVP? The way Quick is playing, no one is in his stratosphere. -SL.
I think it's Quick. The Kings obviously have to advance, but he's so damn good right now I think there's a chance he goes back to back. - Wysh.
Sexiest swede in the league? Is it possible to pick against Gabe Landeskog? -SL.
Seriously? It's Henrik Lundqvist. No contest. He's the most beautiful person in the world. Even Tortorella thinks so... -Sam.
Do you think expansion will or should happen in the NHL? I think 32 teams makes a lot of sense. Where? Another one in Toronto and a return to Quebec City. If there's relocation (cough coyotes cough), how about Seattle? -Sam.
Yes, because Henrik Lundqvist exists. Give your head a shake, Leahy. -- HM. Oh, wow. How did I forget Hank? I'm sorry. I will go to church and say 100 "Hail Henrik's" as penance.
Is Borje Salming still in the league? Takes chiselled good looks to new heights. - SM.
1) With Roy as the new Avalanche coach, how successful do you think he will be? 1) Think Roy will be fine for the Avs. He paid his dues and learned the coaching ropes with the Remparts. What will be interesting is how his style works at the NHL level. Will he demand as much from his players like he did himself as a player?
2) What do you think the Avs are going to do with the 1st pick? I think the odds are on Jones, but some rumors about even trading the pick away are coming through the pipes. 2) I think they take Jones. Roy saying they might look to trade the No. 1 is to allow some drunk NHL GM to offer him some ridiculous package for it, which in this league is possible. -SL.
3) What are your general thoughts about the short-term future of the Avalanche, considering their youth, first overall pick and the hiring of Roy as coach and VP of hockey ops? Patrick Roy...part of me thinks he'll be boom-or-bust as an NHL coach. But really, he's so competitive and knowledgeable, and such a hard worker and garners so much respect that I think he'll do well. Probably be a learning curve for the first season, and Avs are certainly no lock to make the playoffs next year. -Sam.
Of all the Puck Daddy crew which of you can actually say you can lace em up and play some form of ice hockey? Harrison does some ice dancing, but not at a competitive level. -Sam.
You need a scoring winger? 'Cuz I got my skates in the car. -SL.
Which team do you think can take more positives from these playoffs-Detroit or Ottawa? Ottawa. They again succeeded despite numerous injuries that would have crippled other teams. -SL.
Sens. -Sam.
Ottawa. A lot of young guys got a shot this year thanks to all the injuries and showed that they were ready for an increased role. It could expedite their process towards becoming a real contender. -- HM. Sens for sure. Anderson put himself in play for a spot on the Olympic team, Turris took a step forward and Murray looks pretty damn smart for the Methot pickup.
Harrison - If you could pick a second-tier comic book hero to represent you in a single-elimination bracket, who would it be? I'm not Harrison. So can I pick Harrison as my second-tier comic book hero? -Sam.
Luke Cage, a.k.a. Powerman. At one time just a gangsta in Harlem, he was recruited for an experimental cell regeneration process based on a variant of the Super-Solider procedure that made Warhawk. Unfortunately, as he's undergoing the procedure, one of his enemies messes with the controls, hoping to kill him. He fails, and instead the accelerated limits of the program give him superhuman strength and NEAR IMPERVIOUS SKIN. Have you ever skinned your knee? Hurts like a bitch, and every time it happens I'm like, damn, I wish I was Luke Cage right now. In closing, Luke Cage. -- HM.
Can the Bruins physical play slow down the high scoring Pens? Will Pittsburgh be able to expose the young Boston defense? Problem for the Bruins: Pittsburgh can beat you with offensive flourish and with gritty, dirt goals too.
Hey Wysh - Love listening to the MVSW podcasts! Quick question for you - How much do you love watching Pascal Dupuis play and who do you think's going to offer him way too much money this summer? Dupper has shown his versatility time and again and I can't see some team making him a offer he couldn't refuse (> 4+ million). Thoughts? Comments? I've always liked Dupuis's game, but I think we can all agree that he's very much a product of his center. I think he'd get $4m as a free agent, but those numbers can't be replicated. - Wysh (and thanks for the kind words)
Will Gulutzan have to get an AHL job again before he can land another NHL gig? I think he would have been great for Colorado and got the blame for the transition front office in Dallas, just like Tip. With the many big names (AV, Ruff, Torts, maybe Tip) on the market, coupled with GG's inexperience at the NHL level, you'd have to think he'll end up in the AHL before getting another crack at The Show. The NHL loves to recycle old coaches. He might have to wait his turn to get back in. -SL.
I think Gulutzan is really respected around the league, and people feel he got the shaft in Dallas. Wouldn't surprise me to see him get the Pete DeBoer thing -- fired from a bad team, hired by a good team after cutting his teeth in the NHL. - Wysh.
Do the Kings have what it takes to repeat? How do you see the Vokoun-Fleury issue playing out? Will that be the Penguins Achilles heel? Vokoun has been steady as she goes since taking over from Fleury - don't see goaltending being an issue for the Pens in this series.
Who do you think the Pens will be able to keep this off season? Who will they lose? Who is most important to re-sign? Wonder if they can fit Iginla in with a 2- or 3-year deal? -Sam.
Do the Russians have a legitimate chance at the Gold in Sochi? Or is it another U.S. vs. Canada fight to the death pretend animosity? Any nation I'm seriously overlooking? Sweden is always going to be a contender. Russia is going to face ungodly pressure to win. Canada's stacked; the U.S. will again try to do it with goaltending. - Wysh.
Russia definitely has the players to win gold. At home and highly motivated. Canada, US and usual suspects Sweden and Finland...the Czechs, the Slovaks on the next tier. -Sam.
What is the key factor for the bruins to pull off the upset? Staying out of the penalty box/limiting the Penguins' power play. And Rask outplaying Vokoun/Fleury/Gilles Meloche in goal. -Sam.
Do you think this is the best conference finals the NHL has ever sceen? These are two great matchups with lots of compelling storylines. Let's just hope they can come close to matching the hype. -Sam.
What is going to happen with Fleury at season's end? I think they might kick some tires if there's any interest, but having Vokoun for at least one more year, I think they can let him try and figure out his playoff issues. -SL.
I mean, you can't rely on a late 30's goalie for future seasons, but Fleury has shown he can't be trusted in the postseason. Do you think they try to trade him at the draft for a prospect, young goalie, or picks to take a goalie? I think Penguins keep Fleury and hope he gets back on track. -Sam.
This isn't related to the playoffs but... What do you say are the Oilers greatest strengths & weaknesses? If you had to trade one of the young guns (Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak or Schultz) who would you trade and for who in return? Oilers need to shore up their back end somehow. That's a tough one because I like the four young forwards you mention. If I can get a 2-3 D-man, however, I'd give up one of those guys. You still have Gagner in the mix and I'd keep him.
Thoughts on the newest 538 piece on why Cananda isn't winning any Stanley Cups? I only got thru the first 238 pieces, so don't feel qualified to answer... -Sam.
Can the TBL win the cup next year? Nah ... too many holes in that lineup. - Wysh.
Too soon, too soon... -Sam.
Assuming Richards gets bought out what team does he go to and why? Back to Dallas on a discount maybe? - Wysh.
If the RedWings would have won on the blow call int he 3rd period of game 7, what do you think the NHL would have done? Same thing the league is doing now. Backed Walkom on the call. -Sam.
Do you think Torey Krug keeps it up in the Eastern Conference Finals, or do you think Pittsburgh brings him back down to Earth? He has to come back down to Earth, right? Right? He'll probably cool off vs. the Penguins. -SL.
Gonna go way out on a limb and predict that Torey Krug does NOT score a goal-a-game in the East conf final. -Sam.
What chance do you give of the Bruins beating the Pens? 45.5% -Sam.
A lot of Chicago meatballs cry that Ray Emery should be starting over Crawford, which is ridiculous, but do you see Crawford being the 'Hawks netminder for the foreseeable future? Yes. -Sam.
Dear Sirs, Should I make the announcement Now that I am carrying Patrick Sharp's lovechild, or wait until the playoffs are over?? Wait till the playoffs are over. -Sam.
Will the Caps ever win the cup? I'm tired of being disappointed every year and I know it has to happen sometime. Keep the faith. -Sam.
How much interest do you think there will be in ryane clowe this offseason? If he wants 5 years at $5M per, as was rumored when he was traded to the Rangers, that seems like too long and too much. But it's a thin UFA crop, and Clowe brings physicality and skill and surely played through injury...so who knows, maybe somebody needs a power forward and pays up. -Sam.
Tons, because he's a big winger that can score a bit and that's all you need to be to make a fortune. -- HM.
Any advice for someone who's trying to get more involved in hockey? (Watching/learning game, not playing) If you have the chance to see live games -- whatever the level, minor pro, junior, kids, beer league -- get yourself to the rink. Nothing like being there. Also, fantasy pools are a good way to connect to NHL and get to know the players.
Go to see live games as much as possible to see how plays develop, get a sense of the speed of the game, etc. - Wysh.
Who do you like for the cup? Ask me 4 times, I might give you 4 answers. I'll pick the penguins, but it is truly wide open and it'll probably come down to the hottest goalie. -Sam.
I picked LA at the beginning of the season and Chicago at the beginning of the playoffs. But I think Boston has the deepest forwards corps and the Penguins have Crosby, so... one of those four. -- HM.
Who do u like in the Hawks-Kings series? It's 50-50, but I like the Hawks. -Sam.
Like the Hawks but I can't bet against the Kings - tough team to play against, they have the best goalie going in the spring tournament and they're da defending champeens. - SM.
Last updated: 2013-06-04 15:09 UTC
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