Laine put his Playstation aside and work gloves on
- Patrik Laine is once again one of the most followed Finnish players this NHL season. The Winnipeg Jets’ 21-year-old forward is now a target of increasing attention and pressure after sluggish performance last season.
- At the start of the season, Laine jumped straight into a moving train, as the long contract negotiations kept him away from the Jets training camp.
- However, the first games of the season have been a positive surprise for Laine.
“I didn’t have much expectations for these first games after a five-month break, but I’ve felt surprisingly good. The season started with back-to-back games right away and I got 20 minutes of playtime in both, which felt like nothing. I’ve felt good and I think I’ve played alright.”
- The Jets season began with a four game road trip right away, the first three of which were all in the New York area.
- The home opener will not be played before Thursday.
- There’s been a few significant changes for Laine’s away games this season.
- According to the NHL collective agreement, players with an entry-level contract have to share their hotel room.
- Laine’s entry-level contract ended last season, so he now gets to enjoy his own privacy on road trips.
- Known as an avid video game player, Laine has told he used to be play as much as 12 hours of Playstation a day.
- He also took his console to road trips, during which he sometimes had to buy a new TV if he wasn’t happy with the one in the hotels.
- But now Laine says he has left the console at home.
“Playstation won’t be coming to road trips this year. I’ll try to figure out something else to do.”
“I’m going to watch some hockey games or come up with something else. There’s Liiga and KHL games around the clock and NHL games in the evenings. That’s one way to pass time.”
- Laine hasn’t used the benefit of having his own hotel room yet. He has taken the team’s newcomer, Ville Heinola, 18, as a roommate.
“I thought I’d be a nice friend at least on our first road trip. I took Ville here and I’ll show him how things work when we are on the road.”
“It’s been awesome to follow how undaunted he has played in the first few games. I have to say that he’s a player with a capital P”, Laine says.
- Laine finally opened his goal scoring in the third game, after getting a point in both of the first two games of the season.
- Laine’s game has looked more versatile than before.
- His skates have moved fast, and he has worked harder off the puck.
“I did have five months to train, so my feet should move alright. The thing I did differently this year was going on ice already in July. That was the only thing I changed for my practice. So far it seems to have worked.”
“I’ve tried to focus more on board battles and stealing the puck now. I’ve been able to put pressure on the opponent well. I try to make it difficult for the defensemen, get some loose pucks and create opportunities for my linemates as well. Although I didn’t get goals in the first games, I think I’ve played really well.”
- One-dimensional goal scorer has evolved into a far more versatile forward.
- However, there’s still a lot to get used to, as the team that suffered severe losses in their defensive department at the end of last season, has changed their game strategy.
“We play mid-ice differently than last season, and in our defensive end we are taking away the middle more. It takes a while to get used to it, when in previous seasons our playstyle was different and I missed the practice games”, Laine says.
Sources & Credits: NHL:ssä. (KUVA: KOSTAS LYMPEROPOULOS / ZUMA) laughinpolarbear, Reddit