Former Montreal Canadien Jesperi Kotkaniemi recently opened up about the stark contrast between playing for the Canadiens and his current team, the Carolina Hurricanes. In an interview with The Hockey News, Kotkaniemi slammed the Montreal media, claiming they make life significantly more challenging for players, and praised the less stressful environment he’s found with the Hurricanes.
“The media is really big in Montreal, and it can get in your head really fast if you read all that stuff,” Kotkaniemi said. “Here in Carolina, the life is so much easier. You don’t really stress about anything. Great teammates. Great staff. The media is not bad. It’s really a stress-free life here.”
Kotkaniemi’s comments highlight the pressure that playing in a hockey-mad market like Montreal can put on young players. The intense scrutiny from the media and passionate fan base can be a double-edged sword, inspiring greatness in some players while overwhelming others.
This season, Kotkaniemi has thrived with the Hurricanes, posting the highest point total of his career. He’s notched 15 goals and 22 assists for a total of 37 points in 76 games, surpassing his previous best of 34 points during his rookie season with Montreal. The 22-year-old Finnish forward has found his groove in Carolina, playing a role in the team’s success.
The Hurricanes currently boast the second-highest point total in the NHL, with 107 points, trailing only the dominant Boston Bruins, who have 125 points. As the regular season comes to an end, Carolina is gearing up for a deep playoff run, with Kotkaniemi playing an essential part in their high-powered offense.