We started last weekend with the big-time news that Patrik Laine would be taking his high scoring, one-timing Finnish antics from the Winnipeg Jets to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with Jack Roslovic, in a deal that sent solid number one centerman Pierre Luc-Dubois and a third-round draft pick in the other direction. We’ll likely have to wait until Tuesday versus the Dallas Stars for Laine to make his debut with the Blue Jackets.
On Jan. 28, he was still in Ottawa awaiting a U.S. work visa that will allow him to cross the border. Once he gets there, he will have a 48-hour quarantine and will need to produce two negative COVID tests before he can join his new team.
While we wait to watch him on the ice again, let’s get to know him a little bit better. Here are 8 things you might not know about Patrik Laine.
1. His Favourite NHL Player is Alex Ovechkin
Growing up as a kid, Laine’s favourite team was the Washington Capitals and his favourite player was Alex Ovechkin. It must have been quite a surprise then, at the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship, when in his first ever match against his idol, Ovechkin laid a big hit on Laine. He was no worse for wear though, it actually left him smiling.
“I won’t wash this jersey ever because he hit me,” Laine told NHL.com.
In 2017-18, Laine and Ovechkin were in a tight race for the Rocket Richard trophy for most goals in the league. The Capitals sniper ended up winning the award with 49 goals, followed closely by Laine with 44.
“I’ve been watching Ovechkin since I was a kid,” he said in the NHL.com interview. “He’s been my idol, and I try to copy some of his moves, learn from him. It’s just nice to watch him play and score because I love to score. I watch how he shoots from different angles and from how far. He likes to play physical, too, and I’ve tried to do the same thing with the way I play.”
2. Laine Used to Be a Goalie
When Laine first started playing hockey at the age of four, he preferred being a goalie. He remained one until he was 12, when his father, Harri, convinced him to make the switch to forward. Good move, Dad. It wasn’t long before he showed real potential. By the age of 16, Laine left school to focus full-time on hockey suiting up that year for Tappara.
“We all took turns at different positions, and when it was my turn to play goalie, I really liked it,” Laine told NHL.com in 2016. “I was better in goal than I was at other positions, I guess because I was so big. But my father told me to switch for good when I was 12, so I stayed as a goalie for a pretty long time.”
3. Laine is Afraid of Pucks
He won’t be switching back to being a goalie anytime soon though, because as he let us know in a 2016 interview with Sportsnet’s Kristina Rutherford, Patrik Laine is afraid of pucks. “When other guys started to shoot so hard, I was afraid,” he said.
4. He Used to Use His Mom’s Hair Products
In that same interview with Rutherford, Laine admitted to using some of his mom’s and his sister’s hair products to perfect his flow.
He has a tradition of growing his hair throughout the season and then cutting it after. But to look good while doing so, Laine has a some-what off colour maintenance routine.
He told Rutherford that he’s used his mom’s and sister’s hair products in the past back in Finland. “I had to brush it and do the kinds of things that girls do,” he said. “It wasn’t so nice. But of course it was worth it, I wanted that hair. I had to do what’s necessary.”
He doesn’t shed a tear when the mop-top hits the barber’s floor at the end of the season, though.
“I think it’s more difficult for the barber,” he said. “For me, it’s hard to look in the mirror when you don’t have hair. And it’s hard to wash your hair because I don’t have any, so it’s kind of weird. But it doesn’t take so much work. It’s easier.”
Related: NHL Trade Talk: Wayne Gretzky Quiz
5. He Used to Use Coke Cans For Target Practice
Laine is known for working on his shot often at practice, and that’s a habit that he has carried on with since he was a kid. It’s why he thinks he can score 50 goals in this league at some point.
When he was younger, his Dad Harri, used to put Coca-Cola cans in the corners of the net, he told Rutherford. As he got older, the targets became too easy so his father had to keep switching their placement around to keep him entertained.
“I learned my shot by practicing it every day, even when I wasn’t skating,” he told NHL.com. “I had a net in my backyard (in Tampere, Finland), so I shot a lot as a kid. When I was on the ice at practice, I would always stay later after everyone left and keep shooting. That’s the only way to get better. You have to make sacrifices to be the best.”
As for scoring 50, “”I think I can do that,” he said. “I think I have the ability and that talent that you need and the skills that you need to score that many goals and points. I think it someday could be possible and I want to work hard so that I can make that come true one day.”
6. His Favourite Dinosaur is T-Rex
Mine too. It’s obviously the best one, aside from having short arms.
7. His Favourite Video Game is Fortnite
After the Vancouver Canucks dismal 31-40-11 season in 2017-18, the team banned Fortnite play on all of the team’s road trips for the upcoming season. Laine told the CBC, “they just needed something to blame after last season… if we’re playing like that, we can give up our PlayStations…But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
8. In His Opinion, a Hot Dog is Not a Sandwich
It’s just not.
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