December 16, 2014

Jarkko Ruutu Announces Retirement

The always talkative Jarkko Ruutu said his final words of his hockey career when he announced his retirement. The 39 year old former NHLer had been playing in Switzerland this season.

Jarkko Ruutu was a Finnish super pest who played 652 games in the NHL, accumulating over 1000 PIMs. The bulk of his career was in Vancouver, though he was hardly a favorite of coach Marc Crawford. He also played in Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Anaheim.

Ruutu scored just 58 goals and 142 points, numbers which surprised me upon reflection. Though I despise pests, I always felt Ruutu was capable of playing a serviceable role. He seemed to show that a bit more upon his departure from Vancouver, where he became a regular penalty killer.

The 6'2" menace played with reckless physical abandon. He seemingly partook in extra-curricular activities after every whistle, always yapping and jabbing opponents. He was greatly undisciplined and frustrating to both play against and with. He was a less-talented and less-successful version of countryman Esa Tikkanen.

Ruutu, whose brother Tuomo also had a long NHL career, also played for his country many times, including at the 2006 (winning silver) and 2010 (winning bronze) Olympics. He also won three silver medals at the World Championships and one at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

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