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Ville Leino: Not Much of an Unsung Hero Anymore

Philadelphia Flyers' Ville Leino (L) scores on Chicago Blackhawks' Antti Niemi during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup final hockey series in Philadelphia, June 2, 2010.When the playoffs first started, many Flyers fans were wondering why Ville Leino was not in the lineup. Instead of seeing Leino get his chance, fans were left shaking their heads at the struggles of Scott Hartnell. The popular opinion among fans was that Hartnell should have been scratched and Leino should have gotten his shut, but that didn’t happen. However, with injuries to Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne, Ville Leino finally got his chance.  He didn’t get any points in game five against the Devils, but he was looking fantastic out on the ice.

In game four of the Bruins series, Ville Leino scored his first ever NHL playoff goal. There has been no looking back since that game. Ville has since than added 5 more goals to his 2010 and career total of 6 playoff goals. Leino isn’t scoring unimportant goals either. He can be counted on to pull through with the clutch goals that people will remember when looking back on this playoff run for the Flyers.

Last night showed just how much Leino means to the Flyers. The announcers were giving Ville a lot of criticism for causing the Patrick Kane breakaway goal. Just 20 seconds later the announcers were singing a different tune. Leino made up for his mistake and more importantly tied the game at three. He was there when his team needed him and when the city of Philadelphia needed a reason to keep believing.

It’s hard to believe that a player involved in a trade with Detroit for O.K Tollefsen (which was said to be an unimportant trade which wouldn’t affect either team)  is now one of the biggest storylines of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

What the scouts of the Flyers saw when trading for Leino is a player with a ton of moves and plenty of skill to be used if he is given the chance. Leino cannot be put on a checking line. He needs to be with skilled players or he will not succeed. He won the award for being the best player in 2008 when he was playing SM-liiga hockey in Finland for a reason. The man has talent. The thing that threw many teams off is that Leino is a 26-year-old rookie. That’s old for an NHL rookie, but it should not be frowned upon. Leino plays like a star player.

So Ville Leino has gone from a player involved in a “nothing” trade to one of the best players on this Flyers team right now. The line of Briere, Leino, and Hartnell has clearly been the Flyers’ best line so far in the Stanley Cup Finals. As a big Leino fan, I can only hope that his name continues to become more and more familiar league wide. To Flyers fans he has been a hero since his playoff debut, and now on the biggest stage for hockey, fans outside of Philadelphia will get to see and hear all the magic Leino has to offer.

  1. June 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Well said, Leino has been fantastic in the playoffs with his stick handling skills, speed, skating and pure talent. I just think he needed some motivation.

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