Mikael Granlund: Backyard Games Part Two

The great hope, Mikael Granlund. So much pressure. Is he up to it?

Yesterday, we brought you part one of a Finnish video about Mikael Granlund, complete with English subtitles. It is a look behind the curtain, a bit. A look at the great hope of so many Wild fans. The man who will make the Wild win. The man who will bring seven Stanley Cups in nine years, and so on and so forth.

No pressure, kid.

Today, part two, with further subtitles from Juuso Saino. We hope you enjoy it.

 

Nybondas; "There was a point, before the season, when the requests for interviews from the media just flooded in. We decided to just put an end to all that. Of course, hockey magazines got what they wanted. But there were tons of other papers that all wanted to do some kind of in-depth pieces on him, and we thought they would be too much of a distraction."

MG; "Sure, there was all kinds of talk and attention, but...no, it never really bothered me. I think it was harder on my parents, I don't think they were used to such attention. But for me, I never pay any attention to what the papers say, I just don't really care about what they think. I'm just having fun and enjoying hockey. I guess they get paid for what they do so let them write what they want."

MG; "School's always been easy for me. I have never had to study a whole lot, the grades have been pretty good always. (the line of 9's are his grades, they're pretty much equivalent of an A-)"

Mom; "Mikael has always done well for himself in school. Of course things have changed when hockey has become such a big part of his life. It has to be hard playing and then studying by yourself at home."

MG; "I actually just came from school, sorted some things out. Of course it's difficult to study on your own, but you need to find the motivation to that also. I think it keeps things in balance, I think it's good to have something else to do other than hockey."

Dad (on the background); "I've always thought he could be a teacher some day, or a coach."

Mom; "I think that's Mikaels' character. He's always been great with kids, he likes them and likes talking to them. I think that's his future after hockey, teaching coaching or doing something with kids."

Then they're at a junior hockey camp, Granlund jokes about having the coolest outfit around. Then in the locker room, coach Jortikka just motivates the guys and explains the style of play he likes to coach.

Jortikka; "He's a huge part of this team, there's no doubt about it. He's going to be the #1 guy on the PP and he'll be centering hte first line. The games he's played in SM-Liiga this year, he's showed what he can do."

MG; (this was when Granlund had some problems with his leg, I can't remember what kind of injury it was) "The leg's not 100% yet, we'll see what we can do about it. It's hard, even if it's been just a month, I hate watching the guys play when I can't."

MG; "The WJC didn't go as well as I wanted. You can talk about injuries, but I'm not making excuses. I simply didn't play at the level I can."

MG; "Well..yeah, I have to admit I got lost a few times using the tram after we moved here. But it's all good now, I know my way around the town. Once I get a car I can really go and see the city." (then they're with Granlund on his driving lesson, they're only talking about the route they're taking.)

MG; "I hear I'm getting a Smart...It's a tiny car but it'll do just fine. I'm excited to see what colour it will be. I'm guessing pink..."

Then, in the locker room again... MG; "That's part of the game. You get hit and you hit back. In Canada, you are allowed to hit pretty much right from the start, and although they're not huge checks, it develops that part of the game....I always try to get every puck, I try to give 100% on every shift. You might fall sometimes, but so what? Just get up and try harder."

Jari Suorsa; "I don't think Mikael has ever thought of himself as "small". His size hasn't slowed him down one bit."

Nybondas; "He plays smart hockey. He just needs to understand the facts. If there's a 250lb guy coming at him, you need to play so that he can't hit you. But he'll be fine, I'm sure about it."

Suorsa; "Hitting is all about timing, more than size or power. Mikael has shown that many times."

MG; "The skating and physical play are propably the parts of my game that I need to improve. But luckily those are things that are easier to improve on, just go to the gym and make yourself stronger. It's the other things, positioning, seeing the plays develop, your game intelligence. You don't improve those aspects of your game, not anymore, not at my age. Those are the things you learn as a kid, playing with your friends, that's where it starts from."

Nybondas; "The games in early January, in every single game there has been quests from all around the NHL, scouts are watching him all the time."

MG; "I have talked to about 4 or 5 NHL teams so far. The draft combine is in the summer, that's when the teams will propably come and talk to me more....I don't think I've ever really had a favorite team to be honest. If I ever make it to the NHL, I'll play for whatever team that gives me the opportunity. It would just be a dream coming true if I get to play there someday."

Nybondas; "It's 100% clear that he will be playing in the NHL in few years. I have no doubt about it."

Suorsa; "Well, from what I hear it's not actually a paradise out there either. It's only going to get harder from here. It's going to be new and strange once he gets there. I don't know when he will be ready to leave, but I'm sure he's going to do fine."

Mom; "Not yet. He's so young...I hope I get to see him for a bit longer."

Then the ending text says that the Wild drafted him at number 9, and that he's the first Finnish player drafted in the first round for four years. Then...roll credits.

By the way, the two aspects of Granlund's game that have improved the most for this season? Defensive play in his own zone, and he's stronger on his skates. Throws his body around, too.

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