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HELSINKI — What’s that line from the classic David Bowie tune, Changes? “They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”
That’s Patrik Laine.
The 20-year-old Winnipeg Jets winger is coming off a pair of dream seasons to begin what promises to be a long and prosperous NHL career, but, right now, he’s not quite himself.
Laine, who hails from Tampere, Finland, can’t seem to get that black disk to go where he wants it to go, and not just when he’s directing it at the opponent’s net.
He was quick to concede Tuesday he’s enduring some hardships in how he moves the puck in his own end as well, and the 6-5, 200-pound forward has clearly had enough of his autumn of discontent.
“Just overall, it kind of feels like the pucks are bouncing, and when I’m trying to get it out of the zone, it feels like it’s going to hit something and stay inside,” Laine said, to a captivated press corps at Hartwall Arena. “That’s probably the biggest thing I need to work on, to get pucks out and get pucks deep.
“Those are the small things that the team and the coaches and all of the other players respect, and they want everybody to do the same things. That’s something especially that I don’t like about my game.”
The expectation is Laine, who has scored three goals — all with Winnipeg enjoying the man advantage — and supplied two assists in 12 games this season, will be yoked with a couple of the Jets’ most productive worker bees: hard-hitting centre Adam Lowry and speedy Brandon Tanev.
The theory is the fore-checking tandem, combined with Laine’s big frame, should generate some sustained pressure in the opposition’s end, equating to scoring chances.
Laine said he’s down with the idea.
“Just try to play simple. I know they have a lot of (offensive) zone time, when I’ve watched them play. They’re two big guys, strong guys who can play physical and can protect the puck well. Hopefully, we can create some O-zone time. Obviously, that’s where I’m at my best,” he said.
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).