To get to this point, of course there must be passion. But Kaapo Kakko's way of feeling about hockey seems better than regular definition.
The 18-year-old Finnish winger is set to become one of the top two picks on the NHL draft Friday in Vancouver, either going to The Devils in No. 1 or the Rangers at No. 2. A glimpse of his personality from those who have been acquainted with him for several years shows a player who is not only competitive and motivated, but one who has a childlike love in the game.
That love has healed his immense ability to grow up with his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, brought to unparalleled international success and now he is on the verge of stardom in New York. ["I'msorrytosaythatI'mhappywiththerestofmylife"sabiniLauriKelikosnapang-roundpickngRangersnoong2004(No19overall)atThePostmulasaFinland
"Just the hours he puts in – either you have it or not," says Korpikoski, who returned to his homeland after a nine year NHL career and was the captain of the Kappo team, TPS, in the leading division of Finland. "It's natural to him, because he's a little kid. Just playing outside and all those things, the times he puts, it tells you the degree of pure satisfaction that has he's for the game and you want to make yourself better like that. "
Got a lot of attention to Kakko for a long time, with a 13-month period ended in May as the only seventh player in history to win gold in the Under-18 championships, the World Junior Championships and the World Championships of men.
When he returned to the TPS after marking the tournament's goal at World Juniors in January, he easily faced self-reflection. But despite his competitive success, he goes straight to doing what he wants – playing only hockey.
"It did not change him a bit," says Sami Salo, now an assistant coach with TPS after spending 878 games as an NHL defenseman from 1998-2014. "He is still the same Kaapo we know he does not return from the trip with his nose in the sky." He still did the same old Kaapo.
"He obviously made some histories by marking a really important goal to win the World Junior Championships. And in general – and I'm not trying to overexaggerate – that's just the way he does: normally, at ease. You need to keep in mind that he is still a boy. She saw and talked to her, she was still a little kid. He competes with many older people. "
Kakko was cleared again with the men in the World Championships in Slovakia where he had scored six goals in 10 games and played big minutes while Team Finland exceeded Canada the last game.
"It's best for him when the pressure is at the top," Salo says. "That's what we discovered. We played against teams that were lower in the end, and the times he was struggling because there was no real tension or pressure. And then he developed in games against the top teams and playoffs. I can not see the change under the NHL style. "
Salo remembers one hour at a time when the TPS had a skate in the morning, then played a game, and at night, Kakko went to play outside the children. Korpikoski remembered all the hours were over and most of the players in the team had a shower and went for lunch, and Kakko just came out on the ice.
"He just wants to go out there, playing around the puck and things "says Korpikoski." Even if the weather is going on, if you want to be on the ice a little less when you're playing a lot, he's going out there everyday so you can not go out there. You will find that you have fun playing the game. "
Korpikoski also had the experience of what he wanted to play for Rangers, having his Broadway trade for 68 games in 2008-09, with parts of three in AHL Hartford, before being released to Coyotes for Enver Lisin in the summer of 2009. For Korpikoski, think that the audience's attention and pressure can be obtained at Kakko is almost ridiculous.
"I think he's # 39; Have fun in that environment, & # 39; says Korpikoski. "I think he wants to show his ability in the big stages, he's a bit even keeled, I do not think things really upset him, I think it just gives him energy."
Kakko did not attend the NHL Buffalo in late May as he returned home to celebrate the World Championship victory after months of travel. But his potential draft, however, did not affect his top draft, struggling for the top spot in American Jack Hughes – a different player, smaller and more specialized.
"Right now, Kakko got the status, he's a little more physically developed," says Dan Marr, the NHL's director of Central Scouting.
"It dictates the kind of game he has the ability to play, the situations he can use, and the results he gets. The skill level, smarts, skating – you dropped the whole list of boxes to look, he has everything. "
Korpikoski said that he would work in his English a little bit, but it should be better by the time The training camp begins in September. At that time, the work before him was the biggest one – living up to the hype.
"As reaching the top of Mount Everest, getting a draft is a big part, but it's really a small part," says Salo. "Once the game is in line and there are 22 players who want to be in the roster, that's when the real task is over."