I spoke briefly with Prince Akeem yesterday about signing his contract and a few other things. The guys at HF Boards had some questions for Hartikainen based on some of the scouting reports that they've read and wondered if they could get some answers.
(I tried to get a copyright-free picture of Prince Akeem from "Coming To America" for this story, but could find none.)
Copper & Blue: Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions submitted by Oiler fans?
Teemu Hartikainen: No, I'd like to answer.
C&B: One fan asked about your skating. Steve Tambellini mentioned that it was much improved. Are you still working on it?
Teemu Hartikainen: I work on my skating every day, in fact, I'm off to practice now to work on my skating. I'm still using the regimen that Steve Serdachny gave me last summer.
Note: Hartikainen talked about Serdachny's regimen the first time we spoke. The Oilers released a video of Hartikainen and Serdachny working together. Given Tambellini's comments on his skating, it seems as if the regimen is paying dividends.
C&B: Are you open to working with other skating trainers, like Liane Davis?
Teemu Hartikainen: I'm willing to work with anyone that they ask me to. I'm excited to see who will teach me when I come over.
C&B: Another fan asked about your willingness to screen the goalie and play in the crease. This is something that your scouting reports don't mention. Do you play that role, causing problems in front of the net?
Teemu Hartikainen: Yes, I enjoy playing in front of the net. I like to screen the goalie. I like to score the nasty, dirty goals from that area.
C&B: Who is your favorite Oiler to watch?
Teemu Hartikainen: I like Hemsky and Gagner, they have such great skills to play this game.
Note: Why yes, I do agree that Sam Gagner will eventually need a pesky, two-way Finnish winger.
There was also a question about his thoughts on playing in the AHL and from all of the conversations I've previously had with him, he's very excited about going to the AHL and is interested to learn about Oklahoma. He knows he has things to work on, but enjoys playing a physical game and that part of the North American game suits him well.