Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/30/10 at 08:39 AM ET
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,
For Ville Leino, earning the trust of coaches in the NHL was a lengthy process.
He never had it in Detroit. He didn’t get it right away in Philadelphia after the Flyers acquired him prior to the Olympic break last season in exchange for Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.
And if it wasn’t for twin foot injuries to Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter early in last season’s playoffs, there’s a good chance Leino still might not have been noticed.
For 19 games last spring, Leino did just that. Partnered with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell to complete the most dynamic line in the playoffs, Leino finished with 21 points in the postseason, an NHL record for rookies. Considering he had a hard time even getting on the ice for the Flyers prior to the postseason, that’s a pretty remarkable figure.
Now, Leino is set to be a fixture on a deep Flyers team with plans of going one step further than it did last season. He will start the season with Hartnell and Briere on what amounts to the Flyers’ second line, and he is being counted on to provide a good chunk of offense for the first time since his days playing in the Finnish Elite League.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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