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Dali, Ruutu, Lemieux, Fazer... at Globen

Pittsburgh Penguins - Ottawa Senators 4-3
Ottawa Senators - Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1

The ones who say it is better to watch sports on television are not athletes. Sure, it is often easier and nicer to get all replays and clarifying commentary (if such exists) to your comfortable home sofa. I am personally not going to sports events for the atmosphere either. Why I prefer watching sports live is that I can capture the small things that happen outside the camera. Like now on Saturday at Globen, where this season’s NHL opening game was played I found a whole new game that I have not seen on tv.
For the past few years NHL teams have travelled to Europe to promote the game by playing the first official league fixture – luckily this year it was Ottawa Senators – Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm. My old school mate, Jarkko Ruutu, arranged me to watch my first NHL live game at the first row. Being a sweating distance from the game opened my eyes to it. Only now I can understand the speed of the game and the requirements needed from the players. Moreover, it was fascinating to watch how players and managers on the bench reacted to different situation. Before, I had no idea or appreciation how tactics and different role players help the team in ice-hockey but now I can relate to different battles inside the game a bit better.
Ruutu himself is one of the most controversial characters of the game. Being a successful enforcer always raises different opinions and his non compromising style and honest comments have certainly made him widely discussed character. I don’t know if it applies to ice-hockey or to Ruutu but there is a saying in football that “if the opposite supporters are angry at you, you have often done something right”. Own supporters are obviously a different case: Ruutu just changed from Penguins to Ottawa and it was very clear he was still liked by both clubs.
I am not qualified to judge ice-hockey but I have known him as person for a long time and he is one of the nicest guys you can meet. I see and treat people as persons because I know that how someone performs a sport have always an element of act in it – either planned or unconscious. Often the best judgement comes from the people who have played with someone; now in Globen from the warm-up to the celebrations it was easy to notice how highly regarded team players like Ruutu are by their team mates. In Ruutu’s case it was both Ottawa and Pittsburgh players because they all have a recent experience how it is to play with him and against him. Sid Crossby, who is claimed to be the best player in the world at the moment, was extremely frustrated, even angry for not getting any room in the game but you could see from his reactions how much he still valued someone who has done before the same work for him. Ruutu is definitely a guy you want next to you instead of against you. This is what I keep hearing about us crazy Finns regardless of a sport or a walk of life.
Salvador Dali has said: “The difference between a genius and a crazy person is that I am not crazy”. Who knows what he meant, after all he liked painting different shapes of shit. How I interpret it is that in any given work or duty there is a need of controversy to be at the top.

This time I recommend:
1. Watching sports live
- don't follow the ball, follow the game
2. Fazer chocolate
- seriously, it will change your life

I do not recommend:
1. Salvador Dali: Diary of a genius
- great painter, crazy writer

Another Crazy Finn

ps. I also saw at the game my all time favorite hockey player, Mario Lemieux. What a player he was!

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