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Gagarin Cup: Oskar Osala on his way to becoming a legend



A lot of focus has been on Laine, Aho, and Puljujärvi the last two years, and on some other Finnish hockey players such as Barkov, Ristolainen, Vatanen, and Määttä.

Everyone, well, at least most experts and fans have predicted that at least those three first- mentioned players will have successful careers.

I am not speaking against that at all, and I really hope that some of them will play for and win a Stanley Cup final or World Championship, or become an Olympic champion.

That is though for the future to reveal the answer to the question of whether any of all those players above will win; we never know in advance, only have a feeling about it. But, in a game like hockey where things change quick, there are certainly no guarantees.

Many great hockey players have only won one title or have finished without a title. That’s a part of the game’s nature, some are without no matter how good they are.

From Finland have come in the last 40 years some extremely good players. Most known – still in fans’ memories at least as a name – are of course Jari Kurri and Esa Tikkanen. Both have won several Stanley Cups during their careers, which gave them a status as legends.

But, I was thinking yesterday during these early stages of the Gagarin Cup, how many Finnish hockey players have actually won more than two titles at this level?

It has to be emphasized once again as well that the KHL is miles above the other European leagues and the second best league in the world, which means that the league and the playoffs are at a very, very high level.

The answer hit me in the face when Oskar Osala in Magnitogorsk scored a hat trick against Kunlun Red Star, Friday the 24th February, that the very next man after Kurri and Tikkanen is actually: Oskar Osala.

Osala has already two Gagarin titles on his belt, and that is at the very least a very fantastic achievement.

Moreover, he has also a huge opportunity to win a third title with Magnitogorsk this year or at least the coming season if he chooses to stay there and if nothing else happens that disturb the plans of the club.

Magnitogorsk as a team have three high-levelled formations including world-class players such as Mr. Goal scorer himself, Sergei Mozyakin, Chris Lee, Denis Zaripov, Alexander Semin and Tomas Filippi.

Not to forget Ilya Samsonov who is on his way to becoming one of the best keepers in the world, if he’s not already that of course. Samsonov’s companion Koshechkin is not bad either, also a world-class keeper.

In that squad, we have Oskar Osala who scores from time to time, but his strength is that he is undoubtedly a reliable piece in the Magnitogorsk team, all day – every day. And, how many can say that they are that?

But, why am I writing this piece in the first place?

The simple answer: A hockey player who earns the kudos, shall get them as well, and Oskar Osala is one of those who indeed earns them.

If he wins a third title at this level of the game, then – ladies and gentlemen – he will have reached a milestone that many other great Finnish hockey players including in the NHL have never reached and probably won’t reach either, and that has to be counted for something the day we sum up Osala’s career.

In other words, a true legend of Finnish hockey.

At least I will remember his deeds on the ice and I hope his hometown Vaasa, Finland (Swe: Vasa) will remember that too and give him the great celebration he deserves when it is time for that.

We all live in suspense from day to day; in other words, you are the hero of your own story.

-Mary McCarthy


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Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.