To get to this point, of course, there must have been a passion. But the way that Kaapo Kako feels like hockey seems far beyond the usual definition.
The 18-year Finnish Wing is one of the two best NHL projects Friday in Vancouver. Devils number 1 or Rangers at number 2. A look at his personality from those who have known him for several years reveals a player who is not only competitive and managed but also has a childish love for the game.
This love has fueled his tremendous skill, which has grown with his 6 foot and 2 foot frame that brings him into unparalleled international success and is now on the edge of the star in New York. 19659002] "First of all, I think he has a great passion for the game," Laurie Corpico, the first round of Rangers in 2004 (number 1
"Only the hours you put in – or you have it or not – said Corpico, who returned to his home country after a nine-year NHL career and was the captain of Kappo's TPS team in the Finnish division. "Of course, since he was a little kid. Simply playing outdoors and all these things, the hours he enters, tells you the level of pure pleasure he has for the game and want to improve that way. "
Kako for a long time, with a 13-month period ending in May, seeing him become only the seventh player in history, earning gold at the 18-year championship, the World Junior Championships and the Men's World Cup.
They returned to TPS after marking the World Junior Championship winning tournament in January, and he could easily experience some swelling of his own importance. But despite racing success, he's back to what he loves – just playing hockey.
"It did not change it a bit," said Sammy Salo, now a coaching assistant with TPS, after spending 878 games as a NHL defender from 1998-2014. "He was still the same Caapa as we know him. He did not come back from the trip with his nose up to the sky. He's still the same old Capo.
"He has obviously made some history by having a key goal in winning the World Junior Championships. And in general – and I'm not trying to overdo it – that's exactly the way he is: normal, calm. You still have to remember that he is still a boy. Look at him and talk to him, he's still a little kid. He is able to compete with much older people. "
This became clear when Coco went to the men in the World Cup in Slovakia, where he scored six goals in 10 games and played great minutes while the Finnish team was ahead of Canada
" It is best when the pressure is at "High," Salo said. – We found that. We played against lower-class teams and these are the moments when he will fight because he has no pressure or pressure. And then he will thrive in the games against the best teams and playoffs. I do not see this changing in the style of NHL. "
Salo remembers the time when TPS had a morning skate and then played, and at night Caco went to play outdoors with some children. Corphociski remembered all the times when the training was over, and most of the players in the team bathed and left at lunch, and Kako was just out of the ice.
"He just wants to be there, play with a washer and everything else," Corpico said. – Even though the season continued, when you want to be less on the ice when playing a lot, he will be there every day while you can be there. You will see that there is such a pleasure playing the game. "
Corpico also has experience with how to play for the Rangers after making his Broadway trade for 68 games in 2008-09 with parts of three seasons with AHL Hartford before he trades with Coyotes for Enver Lisin in the summer of 2009. For Corpico, I think the spotlight and the pressure can get to Howko's almost funny.
I will thrive in this environment, "said Corpico. – I think he wants to show his skills on the big stages. He is quite indifferent. I do not think that really bothered him. I think it just gives him energy. "
Buffalo at the end of May, returning home to celebrate the World Cup victory after months of travel. But it almost did not affect his potential, fighting for the first place with the American Jack Hughes, a very different player who is smaller and a little more experienced.
"Right now, Kakko has acquired the status. He's a little more physically developed, "says Dan Mar, NHL director at the Central Scout.
"This dictates the type of game it is capable of playing, the situations in which it can be used, and the results it receives. The skill level, the mind, the skating – you go down the whole list of boxes to register, he has all these. "
Corpokoski said that Kaco should work a little English, but it should be better than time. training camp starts in September. Until then, the task in front of him will be even the greatest – living to hype.
"It's like getting to the top of Mount Everest. Their attraction is a big part, but it's really a small part, "Salo said. "Once the game is online and there are 22 players who want to be on this list, that's when the real thing is done."