This year the 25-year-old is looking forward to his third nomination and that’s why he has signed a one-year deal with Slovan Bratislava which is starting its fourth season in KHL.
You played at the last two World Championships. It was your first two big tournaments in your career. How would you sum them up?
Both went basically the same for us. We didn’t make quarter-finals. I played ok in 2014 but when it comes to the last championship in 2015, I feel I could have done more for the success of the team. Unfortunately, we finished earlier than we wanted.
On both tournaments your linemates were Tatar and Panik from the successful World Juniors in 2009 where Slovakia finish on fourth place. Fans wanted to see all of you in one line again.
I know that. Many people were asking me about that, but it was five years ago and now everyone is on different level of the career. In that time we played every three or four months on the same team so we knew each other a lot better than now. It would be nice to play with them on one line again, but everything is up to coaches.
You mentioned in the last World Championship you were slightly out of shape. What were the main problems?
I wouldn’t say I was out of shape. We just couldn’t score a goal. We had a plenty of chances, but we didn’t capitalize on them. That’s why we didn’t win the games which we should have won. Hockey is tougher and today you cannot win 7-0 or something like that. If you have two or three chances per game, you have to score from them. Otherwise you can’t win a game.
Was the problem also that there were no top-level goal scorers on Slovak team?
I don’t think so. We had Marian Gaborik, but many of us just couldn’t score a goal. Many guys had a great season in NHL like Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco, and also me in Finland. But none of us could score. It was so frustrating for each of us, but that sometimes happens.
Slovakia had Marian Gaborik and Tomas Kopecky and the others who belong to the older generation of Slovak hockey. On the other hand you together with Tomas Tatar, Richard Panik or Tomas Jurco are new generation of hockey players. Did you feel that on ice?
I don’t know. We are different generations for sure, but on tournaments like this everything depends on your current form. You can have a great season and suddenly you can’t score. It happens to everybody and I had this problem during the last World Championship.
Now you started your first season in the KHL with Slovan Bratislava. How do you feel on ice with your new teammates?
It’s ok. First shifts on the ice were hard, but it is always like this when you start the season. It’s exciting and I’m happy that the season started.
Why did you choose to play for Slovan Bratislava?
There were many reasons. One of them is that I will be playing at home and in a great league. The second reason was the fans in Bratislava. I heard they were always selling out the arena and create a great atmosphere during the whole games. I hope this season will be better for us than last year.