Big Finn Kemppainen ‘excited' to show what he brings to B's

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WILMINGTON, Mass. – While he still hasn’t been on the ice yet in development camp, there is already an air of anticipation to see what Finnish center Joonas Kemppainen can do once he laces up the skates for the Bruins.

Kemppainen, 27, was signed to a one-year, two-way deal shortly after Don Sweeney took over as GM of the Bruins and it was planned he would get his feet wet in the Bruins way with the young B’s prospect group this week.

He’s been held out with a nagging hamstring injury sustained while training in Finland, but is looking forward to getting his 6-foot-2, 213-pound frame out on the ice.

“I think this is a really good decision for me because the people all seem to be really nice, and the atmosphere is so professional. Of course I’m excited. This is the best league in the whole world, so it’s a big step for me to come here,” said Kemppainen, who tore it up in the Finnish Elite League playoffs with 10 goals and 24 points in 19 games this spring. “It sucks to rehab, but that’s the situation. I hope to have a quick recovery.

“I’m just hoping to make a good first impression. Even if it’s not out on the ice, this is the first time I’m meeting a lot of people face-to-face. It’s a good chance to make a good first impression.”

While Sweeney mentioned Kemppainen as a potential candidate to replace Carl Soderberg in the Bruins lineup, it’s just as likely that the Big Finn gets his feet wet in the North American game down in Providence. Ryan Spooner has the inside track on the third-line center spot to start training camp, and it may take Kemppainen some time to get accustomed to the smaller ice surface, and the more physical tone to the battle areas in the AHL and NHL.

B’s European scout P.J. Axelsson has seen plenty of Kemppainen in Finland and in international tournaments the past couple of years, and he sees plenty of similarities and differences between the Big Finn and the outgoing Big Swede.

“He’s a big, heavy guy. It would obviously be nice to see him on the ice too, but he’s got a little bit of an injury. But he’s a big, heavy guy that’s strong on the puck, good on face-offs and is a very smart hockey player,” said Axelsson. “He’s probably a little bit [more] on the defensive side of the game...That’s his strength. But he can chip in some goals too.

“Size-wise and defensively he is [comparable to Soderberg], but I don’t know if he’s offensively as good as Soderberg was. But time will tell, I guess. But I really like him as a player.”

It will be interesting to how Kemppainen makes the transition to the North American pro game after playing his first nine pro hockey seasons in the Finnish Elite League. Still, curious Bruins fans and media will have to wait a little bit longer to get their first look at him in action. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Finn Kemppainen 'excited' to see what he brings to B's

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