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In 2020, Jesperi Kotkaniemi thought he’d stay in shape… just by playing tennis!
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
The year 2020 was a special one for the NHL. For those who may have forgotten, the league had to interrupt its activities in March due to the COVID-19, before resuming in the summer (in a bubble) to play its playoffs.

It was a very special time.

Between March and the return to action, though, the guys were responsible for staying in shape. Most of them were back in their hometowns, and it was difficult for the teams to keep up on a regular basis.

Of the lot, Jesperi Kotkaniemi had returned to his native Finland… and according to Martin Leclerc’s report on the latest episode of Tellement hockey, Kotkaniemi thought he’d keep in shape by simply playing tennis.

And when I say “playing tennis”… it’s really just playing tennis.

Our colleagues at HabsolumentFan also reported the news.

Leclerc, who obtained the information from a former member of the Habs’ coaching staff, notes that the club already suspected at the time that KK wasn’t exactly up to the job. And with the playoffs on the bubble, the young Finn’s approach didn’t exactly suit the club.

We really felt he lacked seriousness, and we had to bring him back to order.

It should also be remembered that Kotkaniemi had recently been hospitalized with a spleen injury. Given that he was coming back from a major injury, a return to fitness would be more than necessary, but KK obviously felt that a few games of tennis would be enough to get him ready for the playoffs.

When you read stories like this… it’s easy to see why the club didn’t do everything in its power to retain the services of its player when the Hurricanes made a hostile offer.

With Kotkaniemi having a difficult season in Carolina, it’s safe to assume that until he develops a better work ethic, he may be living on borrowed time in the Bettman circuit.

At the very least, he’ll have 4.82 million good reasons per year (by 2030) to sit on his laurels… unless the Hurricanes buy out his contract by the end of this one.


– Makes you hungry.

– Great read.

– Interesting to see the Markov-Subban duo in this ranking.

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