What was your reaction when you
found out you’d be staying with the
Penguins? I was really excited. I sent a text
to my parents, brothers and best friends right
away. We had a game the next day, so I didn’t
think about it too much. It was awesome to
know — but it was only nine games [into the
season,] and I want to keep taking things one
game at a time.
Making a pro team at 19 is an accomplishment in any sport. Was there a moment when
you knew that you belonged in the NHL? I
think I have just been gaining confidence over
time. I had to keep getting more comfortable,
keep trying to get better every game. Starting
in rookie camp we talked about this being an
opportunity — so I’ve just been trying to work
hard every day.
As a teenager, what was it that made you
decide to go with hockey rather than soccer?
I [felt] I had a better chance to make it pro
playing hockey, and … I just felt like it was
closer to my heart. But I’m still a big soccer
guy as well. I love watching soccer. I like Aston
Villa, but they haven’t been that good — for
Have you found any similarities between
Pittsburgh and Jyvaskyla, your hometown in
Finland? It’s a big sports town like Pittsburgh
is. Other than that, though, there’s nothing
that is really new to compare. I’ve been able
to go out [here] for some dinners and to the
movies. Pittsburgh is a really nice city.
Jussi Jokinen is also Finnish. How much
has he helped you adjust to the NHL? A lot.
It’s good to have a guy who speaks your own
“I [felt] I had a better
chance to make it pro
playing hockey, and
... I just felt like it was
closer to my heart. But
I’m still a big soccer
guy as well.”