One goal in his first six NHL games, a four-game losing streak, an average of 15:21 ice time per game and linemates who haven’t lit the world on fire have combined to pour cold water on the start of rookie Kaapo Kakko’s first NHL season so far, the 18-year-old told a New York-based Finnish reporter.
“Hockey isn’t very much fun for me right now,’’ Kakko said, per a translation by the blog 4Ever Blueshirts, to writer Pasi Tuominen of Eastside Media. “Things haven’t been working out, and sometimes I feel like I could be on the ice a bit more. It would be cool to get a chance on the first line at some point. I understand that it hasn’t been realistic so far, since I haven’t really showed much.
“My goal is to have a leading role,’’ he continued. “I don’t want to hear any talk about how I’m the youngest guy and I need to be given time to get used to the playing style. I want to be the guy who scores goals and wins games right away.’’
Rangers coach David Quinn had no comment on the interview, saying he doesn’t speak Finnish, hadn’t read the story and wasn’t award of Kakko’s comments.
Kakko - who assisted on Tony DeAngelo's second goal against Arizona - got the least ice time he’s had in a game this season, just 9:51, as Quinn cut down to three lines in an effort to try and generate a game-winning goal in the third period. The coach said the rookie’s ice time was just a reflection of how the game went.
Greg McKegg returned to the lineup and Micheal Haley was scratched after playing in the last two games . . . Brendan Lemieux lost ice time in the third period, mostly to Brendan Smith, and Quinn said Lemieux had “a tough game.’’ Lias Andersson, the fourth line center, played just 7:34, second-least on the team (McKegg played 6:36).