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Sebastian Aho: ‘We are a hungry team now’

Sebastian Aho spoke to the media over Zoom following the conclusion of the second day of training camp Tuesday.

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images

Tuesday marked the second day of the NHL’s Phase 3 training camps. The Canes were all in attendance as they continued their conditioning and drill work in high spirits.

Sebastian Aho was one such player who is ready to get back into action and he feels that the Hurricanes will be ready come August 1.

The Finnish phenom spoke to the media over Zoom following Tuesday’s practice.

On how he’s feeling on the ice: I feel good. I’ve been skating for over a month now. Twice a week and then three times a week and last week we skated four times per week so I feel pretty good. I’ve been working out too.

On having a new fellow countrymen in Sami Vatanen: We knew each other before he got here so it was pretty easy. It’s nice to have a fellow Finn on the team and now we have three. It’s always nice, easy to hang out with, and nice to speak some Finnish outside of the rink.

On what Vatanen can bring: He’s a good player. When he was younger he used to be really offensively minded d-man and I feel like he has the two-way game now too. He has a good shot and he’s a smart player. Really good all around D. I’m sure he can help us in many ways.

On skating back home in Finland: At first, we started skating with a smaller group. There were some NHL players, Pekka Rinne was one of them, and a few other guys too. There were guys that played in the KHL and Finnish league too. Good group of guys. Helps to have those high-skill guys there for better practices. I had been skating with my hometown team Oulun Karpat too. Getting team practices in is different than individual practices though.

On knowing who the opponent is for so long: To be honest, we’ve been focusing more on us. For sure we’re going to watch them and how they play, their power play, their PK. All that stuff we’re going to watch the video on, but so far we’ve been focusing on us.

On why Rangers have been difficult to play: They are a high-skilled team. Really fast. Good goalies always against us too it seems. We have to do a better job of making the goalies job a little harder and crashing the net.

On having playoff experience: It’s big for us. We are still a young team and, for me and a lot of other guys, it was our first time in the playoffs. We beat two really good teams, so it gave us some confidence. It was only the Conference Finals that we got out at, so we are a hungry team now and I feel that we have more experience and that will help us.

On preparing for an empty arena: It’s our job, like [Brind’Amour] said the other day, to keep our own juice going. We’re not the loudest team probably so that’s one thing we have to really pay attention to.

On energy for Day 2: I liked what I saw today. Everyone has a positive mindset. They’re happy to be here and just trying to get in the best shape you can right now. I felt good too.

On the CBA: I probably should pay attention more to that stuff, but this was the first time I really even followed what was going to happen with the CBA. It’s nice to have that for the next four years. It’s a good thing to have no lockouts.

On possibility for the Olympics: That was probably my favorite hockey memory ever. When I was growing up as a kid and watching Finland play in the Olympics; that was so cool. It would be awesome to play in the Olympics for my own country.

On playing during pandemic: I don’t even know 100% what the bubble will be like. You probably should ask some smarter guy than me because I’m not the one who knows a lot about this stuff, but I know that a lot of people have worked really hard to make that bubble work for us so my belief is that it is going to work and hopefully everyone stays safe.

On anxiety towards coming back to America amid the pandemic: We basically don’t have it back home in Finland. The situation over there is pretty good and life is pretty normal. Everything is opened up. When I heard we had to come back it was sort of a tough process, but when I’m here I don’t go any places. I just come to the rink and go home and stay there. Maybe play a little golf, but that’s about it. You can really not see any people and try to be safe that way.

On the Finnish NHLers charter flight: It was almost every NHL Finnish player. There were probably like almost 30 guys. 25-30 guys. It was pretty well done by Finnair and actually Leo Komarov was the guy who set it up.

On concerns over bubble: Like I said I believe the people who have worked hard to make this happen have put a lot of work into it so I feel like it’s going to work, but we’ll see when we get there.