DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji filed a notebook article from the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, MI, where Red Wings prospect Otto Kivenmaki continues to adjust to playing a new position:
Although Detroit Red Wings prospect Otto Kivenmaki has played center most of his life, he did not last season while playing for Assat.
Some things are apparently not like riding a bike.
“I suck at face-offs!” Kivenmaki exclaimed after Team Finland’s 7-1 loss to Team USA Blue Sunday afternoon at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. “That’s the thing that I gotta work on. Last year I wasn’t playing center so I wasn’t doing any face-offs. That’s a thing that I gotta work on.”
Kivenmaki, 19, struggled in the face-off circle against Team USA’s 6-foot-2 center Shane Pinto, 6-foot centers Jon Gruden and Owen Lindmark, and 5-foot-11 center Alex Turcotte.
At 5-foot-8 and 154 pounds, Kivenmaki is still working to gain strength one year after being drafted by the Wings in the seventh round, 191st overall.
“Of course he could be better at that but he’s still not the strongest guy on the ice, but he’s talented,” Team Finland head coach Raimo Helminen said. “Talented kid and we really like him. I hope he gets stronger and stronger every month and week. He will playing against men, men’s games in Finland, and he will be stronger and stronger.”