Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff files an “emptying out the notebook” column today, discussing mini-mite (5’8″) Otto Kivenmaki’s development with Team Finland’s World Junior Summer Showcase coach, Raimo Helminen:
“He has to skate but he can play hockey you know,” said Helminen, who himself was the first player to participate in four Olympic hockey tournaments. “He’s a great player.”
Unable to outmuscle opponents, to succeed on the ice, Kivenmaki must use his head and out-think those trying to stop him, in the process staying one step ahead of the defender, both in speed and in mind.
“That’s right,” Helminen said. “He has to use his head a lot more.”
This season should prove a true test of Kivenmaki’s ability to use his head to get ahead. The plan is for him to play the full season with Asat Pori’s senior team in Finland’s SM-Liiga.
“He will be playing against the men in Finland and I think he’ll develop a lot in this season,” Helminen said. He’s counting on Kivenmaki to also make his mark with Finland at this winter’s world junior tournament.
“He’s coming on,” Helminen said. “You never know but we have really good hope.”