Back in the Finnish league while awaiting the resumption of activities in the NHL, Jesperi Kotkaniemi recognizes that it is a challenge to readjust to European hockey.
“It’s difficult, for sure,” said the Montreal Canadiens forward in an interview with The Athletic. Now I notice how different the game is here. It’s a lot slower and there isn’t a lot of corner battles and things like that. The game is floating. It floats in the neutral zone and we are stuck all the time. ”
Difficult for him to present the game a little more robust as he had done on his return with the Canadian during the last playoffs.
“Because the rink is so much bigger, sometimes I just kick myself out of the game when I check in here,” Kotkaniemi said. It’s so easy, for example, for the defenseman to just pass the puck when I tackle him. ”
The 20-year-old Finn has registered three assists in six games since joining his former side Assat de Pori in SM-liiga. He has collected his three points in his last two games.
Despite this slow start, Kotkaniemi isn’t worried about it and prefers to keep things in perspective.
“I take this opportunity as a good practice for my real job,” said the young Habs player. So I try not to be too frustrated. But yes, of course I want to win games and help the team. I should also produce with the minutes that I am given. There was a bit of bad luck though, if I may put it that way. Bad rebounds. But it’s fun so far. ”
Otherwise, Kotkaniemi is delighted to be able to play at home, in front of his own. “I can see a lot of familiar faces in the stands, a lot of my friends and family friends. It’s good to play here. ”