Sometimes schedules don’t mesh when there’s a player who you really want to interview. A Swiss reporter, Fabian Lehner generously offered to ask my questions to the budding star at his first opportunity.
He was a man of his word and he emailed me the mp3 with some sadness. He was worried that the Finn’s answers were too brief to use. I told him not to worry that I would indeed use them and write about this prospect regardless.
So here’s the setup, a Swiss reporter is speaking English to a translator who then asked the question in Finnish to the player who then relayed back his answer to the translator who then revealed it to the reporter in English. It was a lot of work. Listening to it I laughed because the answers seemed longer coming from the player and then something was lost afterwards.
Puljujärvi is destined to go as high as 2 and as low as 5 in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. His countryman, Patrik Laine will go somewhere in that same range. Both guys play on different professional teams. They’ve played together before in International competition so I was wondering if they were friends?
“Yes, of course,” Puljujärvi replied.
That was my warm up. So then I hit him with something that would be meaningful. I’d find out how when he started playing the game that he’s excelled at.
“When I was four,” he replied.
This is still technically an interview because information is being exchanged in a friendly manner. So we continued, well Fabian did, with the ferocity of any grizzled scribe. We were hoping to find out how he felt his development has gone this year. Now that’s a pretty complex question. The answer wasn’t.
“Good season (pause). Good season.”
At that point he could have done a mic drop. He won the interview. However, I did learn a few things. I love this guy as a player. As I write this he already has a goal for Team Finland as he tries to lead his team to a possible gold medal.
His vision is exceptional, his 6-3, 203 pound frame is ideal for the right wing position. His speed is exceptional for a man of any size and stature. His stickhandling is elite. He’s very agile and extremely tough to knock off the puck. He seems to adjust to the defense and changes his shot accordingly. He plays like a much older player. He already plays against men and it shows.
I hope to have a better conversation with him in Buffalo. I will ask a lot more questions. I may ask 10-15 this time. I’m a patient man and I thank him and Fabian for taking part in this.