Status: NHL left wing/right wing from 1984-1993 with Vancouver, Boston, Winnipeg and San Jose. Currently serves as a scout for Washington Capitals.
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 175 pounds
DOB: March 12, 1962 In: Lappeenranta, Finland
Hockey Inspirations: "I guess everything. I started with hope. My dad was an athlete and he was pushing me forward and doing all kinds of sports. In Finland, the winter is very long and that's our No. 1 sport and that way, it went to hockey."
Nicknames: "In Vancouver they call me Skreek. With my junior national team they call me Panther."
First Hockey Memory: "Not really mine, but my dad told me he took me down to the lake by our house when I was three. And I was watching there while the big boys were skating. And I was just sitting there, didn't move. Just sitting on the snow, looking at it like it's a miracle, what are they doing? It looks so great. My dad couldn't pull me away from there. I just wanted to sit there and watch them. So he ended up going and buying me skates the next day."
Last Book Read: "That was actually our owner's - Ted Leonsis' new book, which just came out."
Current Car: "I have a couple. But the one that I like to use most is 1969 Mercedes 280 SL (light blue)."
First Job: "I was working in my hometown, there's a big paper mill. I was working downstairs there, moving the big, huge paper rolls with a forklift, to move them around."
Greatest Sports Moment: "Well, I'm still hoping that it's coming (smiles). When the Caps - Stanley Cup - that will be the greatest thing that I could conceive in hockey. But I was very fortunate - it's hard to pick just one - but Olympic Games in Sarajevo (1984) was fantastic. And playing so many years in National Hockey League was also a wonderful thing."
Most Painful Moment: "I think I was fortunate that I didn't have that many injuries. But I think getting traded is always a painful thing. Especially from Boston in '91. I just got traded there in '91 and I thought we had a good playoff run. And I had a very good Canada Cup and I thought I could play well there and I got traded very early in the season. That was hard. Then in '93 I went to San Jose Sharks training camp and got like a two-month tryout contract. I felt like I was playing well enough, but I didn't make the team. So I was disappointed."
Favorite Uniforms: "At this point, Capitals. The new, red home uniforms are great."
Favorite Arena: "I think the old Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, Forum and Toronto Maple Leaf Garden - those old hockey rinks were just amazing because the fans were so close. And the tradition there. I can't really pick one, but I think all those were just fantastic."
Funny Memory: "I'm not sure if it's funny, but, to me, strangest - in my first year pro in Vancouver, we were playing and we had a tough start with Bill Laforge. And we won our first game in L.A. And after the win he shut the lights down and asked us to stand up and hold hands and we had to sing this song, which I don't want to name. But I thought that this is not National Hockey League (smiles)."
Most Memorable Goal: "Can't think of that. But I know the most memorable miss I had (smiles). We were with the Canucks, first round against the Calgary Flames (in 1989) and then the seventh game, late in the third period. I had a good pass from Brian Bradley - right from the slot - and I just shot it and Vernon just jumped and hit his toe and bounced out. And if that goes in, we continue the next round."
Closest Hockey Friends: "There are a few guys back in Finland that we keep closer contact, but unfortunately so many good guys who played with me - it's hard to keep up with them, with traveling and moving quite a bit. All hockey players are great."
Funniest Players Encountered: "I think Esa Tikkanen was up there. And he still is."
Favorite Players To Watch: "Skill players. I think Ovechkin and Backstrom are two of the top ones. There are tons of others, but mainly I like players who think on the ice. And they are clever and are able to do unexpected things."
Last Vacation: "I was this summer with my wife in Italy, Florence."
Strangest Game: "When I was coaching in Denmark, we were in finals, seventh or fifth game. The deciding game we were down 5-1 after the first period. And the team was totally shocked and didn't know what to do. We really didn't come up with anything. Then I thought we change all the lines and defense pairs and we just change everything. And (I) felt at that point, everybody forgot the game and started to worry (about) who he plays with. And we came back 5-5. And they ended up winning 7-6 in overtime. We lost. But I thought that was strange how we did it."
Hockey Heroes: "When I was a young boy I didn't know so much about NHL. There wasn't that much coverage. There were some in Finland who were not big heroes, but I liked them. Veli-Pekka Ketola was one of the guys that I thought had a great wrist shot and I copied that. And I think that helped me to learn to have a good shot in my career."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Honesty, hard work, dedication. But mostly honesty and treating people fair."
Career Accomplishments: 1984 and 1992 Olympian; 157th overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft; Scored 183 goals in 541 games; Scored three hat tricks in November of 1986 - Nov. 18 vs. Calgary, Nov. 21 vs. New York Rangers (4 goals), and Nov. 26 at L.A.
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