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The Day After: Rantanen Discusses Relationship With Lehkonen, Ready To Move On



Avalanche Rantanen

Mikko Rantanen made sure that everyone knew how he felt about Ismo Lehkonen questioning his professionalism after Monday’s night’s victory over the Flames.

The day after, he wanted to make sure everyone knew one thing – there is no beef between he and Artturi Lehkonen.

“Everything is okay,” Rantanen said. “Just Finnish journalism who happens to just be Artturi’s dad. Me and Art are really good buddies, been forever, and we’re great teammates. I love him and there’s nothing between us. Just a journalist questioning my professionalism and lying about my whereabouts in summer. I think that’s what pushed me over the edge a little bit, but nothing between me and Lehky. Everything is good, and I’m ready to put it behind us.”

European players seem to deal with this much more than anyone. We see players in Russia all the time deal with this criticism back home, but this is new to Rantanen.

His issue was more the discussion of his off-ice habits.

“I have absolutely no problem with people analyzing what happens on the ice and analyzing my game and criticizing it,” he said. “I understand totally, because that’s what journalists are paid for and that’s what their job is. Just when you start going into private life and lying about that, it’s not okay for me.”

As for the idea of it being a distraction, it doesn’t sound like it really was one.

“I didn’t even know about that, actually,” Jared Bednar said today. “I talked to Mikko today, apparently he’s addressed it. My only concern is make sure that our guys in our room are good, and they are. They’re obviously best buddies. Mikko has put it behind him already and ready to go.”

On the ice, the play was much better from Rantanen. He finished the game with 19 total shot attempts against the Flames, and finally broke through for his first goal in nine games.

Another area where the Colorado Avalanche finally broke through was on the powerplay. After going 16 consecutive powerplays without scoring a goal, the Avalanche finally cashed in with the man advantage. It seemed like they started looking for more seam passes, as opposed to sticking to the outside.

The Finnish star was happy with some of the looks they were getting.

“I think we were creating,” Rantanen said. “Could have had more than just the one, but it was creating chances and Cale did a good job with finishing at least one. To still help the team with one goal, I think it’s important.”

Other News And Notes

It was an optional practice for the team. Joel Kiviranta was back on the ice after missing the game last night, but so was Ben Meyers. After the win, Jared Bednar said that Meyers will get another look, so someone will have to be scratched on Wednesday for that to happen.

Tomas Tatar wasn’t available after last night’s win, but spoke after the optional skate on Tuesday. He finally broke through for his first goal in an Avalanche uniform against the Flames.

“I’m very happy to get it out of my way,” he said. “I was very happy that we climbed back and won the game. It was a big game for us and we got the two points.”

No one seemed happier for Tatar than Ross Colton. After Tatar scored, Colton did the “monkey off your back” signal before giving him a big hug. His energy seems to radiate throughout the locker room.

“You could see on the highlight (Colton) was very happy for me. I really appreciate it.”

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