’s Sunday was a whirlwind he will not soon forget.
|“I didn’t expect this to happen so fast, but I’m glad,” Tarkki said. “I was a little bit nervous when I heard I was going in. It’s pretty amazing. I’m glad we got the win.” |
The 26-year-old goaltender began the day flying across the country from Syracuse to Southern California (along with forwards Kyle Palmieri
and JF Jacques), after being called up to the NHL for the first time in his career. He would get a welcomed surprise before the day was complete, his first career win in the league.
Anaheim had a need for Tarkki after Dan Ellis
suffered a strained groin in practice on Saturday, an injury that is expected to keep him out approximately four weeks. The Finnish rookie was forced into his first game action last night with about a minute and a half left in the first period, when starting netminder Jonas Hiller
was also injured (lower body) while making a spectacular save on Rick Nash.
“I didn’t expect this to happen so fast, but I’m glad,” Tarkki said. “I was a little bit nervous when I heard I was going in. It’s pretty amazing. I’m glad we got the win.”
Though he allowed a power play goal on his first shot against, which came early in the second period, Tarkki settled down and provided some key saves for the Ducks en route to a 7-4 victory. “Iiro flying all day and not expecting to play, the excitement of dressing for a first NHL game, then getting thrust into the situation, I think he did pretty admirably,” said Ducks goaltending consultant Pete Peeters.Watch post-practice video from Monday
During Monday morning’s optional practice at Honda Center, Tarkki worked extensively with Peeters in getting up to speed on technique and other nuances of being an NHL goaltender. It is not known if Hiller, who is receiving treatment from the training staff, will be able to go tomorrow night against the Stars in Anaheim’s homestand finale. If he does not, Tarkki would be in line for his first career start.
“Of course, that is why I came here,” said Tarkki, who signed a one-year contract with Anaheim back on May 6, 2011. “When I first went to Syracuse, I thought I had to work hard there and play good games. If I did that, I was pretty sure I was going to get a shot here. Maybe it happened a little sooner than I thought.”
|“Of course, that is why I came here,” Tarkki said. “When I first went to Syracuse, I thought I had to work hard there and play good games. If I did that, I was pretty sure I was going to get a shot here. Maybe it happened a little sooner than I thought.” |
Much like Hiller when he came to the Ducks back in 2007, Tarkki is not your prototypical rookie goaltender. He spent seven seasons between three teams in the Finnish Elite League, with his best campaign coming in 2010-11 as a member of the Espoo Blues (20-20-14 record, 2.09 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and five shutouts in 55 games played).
With both Hiller and Ellis returning to the team from last season, Tarkki was sent to Syracuse after training camp and has performed respectably for the Crunch as their No. 1 goaltender. He posted a 9-11-1 record, 2.85 goals-against average, .916 save percentage (SV%) and one shutout in 23 games with Syracuse.
“Iiro is not like an 18- or 19-year-old,” Peeters said. “He’s definitely made a name for himself in Europe. There are a lot of young players in the American Hockey League. He had a lot of adapting to do. I think he’s done very well. From all reports that I hear in Syracuse, early on in the year he was just outstanding. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable. Once you get comfortable and the confidence comes, you never know what can happen.”
Traversing over uncharted territories in his career, Tarkki is excited for what the future holds here in Anaheim. But before that possibility of a first career start comes, he hopes to get a little relaxation in tonight after a couple of busy days of travel and hockey.
“I’m going to go back to the hotel and get a good rest there,” Tarkki said. “What happens tomorrow, happens. I haven’t thought about it that much. I know we have a game and I will be glad if I’m starting. It would be nice for me.”