July 27, 2014
“We’ve been waiting for someone like him to arrive for a while.”
The scene was Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome, site of the recent Olympics, and the speaker was Sami Salo, the well-traveled NHL veteran defenseman. Team Finland had just skated through its first training session, and Salo had just been paired with Olli Maatta, a partner 20 years his younger.
One set of drills was all it took. Salo felt so strongly about the kid that the above quote was his response to my fairly innocuous question about his first impression of the Penguins’ prized rookie.
“He’s that good,” Salo would say.