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Player Focus: Q&A with Ville Nieminen

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Veteran forward Ville Nieminen joined the Blues on Feb. 27, just hours before the NHL trade deadline, in a deal that sent Bill Guerin to San Jose for Nieminen, a first round draft pick and prospect Jay Barriball. Nieminen recently took a few minutes to sit down with St. Louis Blues Online to introduce himself to Blues fans. Blues forward David Backes, who was standing nearby, chimes in occasionally with his own comments.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: What was the first thing that went through your mind when you were told that you had been traded to the Blues?

Ville Nieminen: A trade is so shocking. After the phone call, you always settle down for awhile and start to look at the situation and go from there.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: Blues President John Davidson said you’d make a great addition to the Blues because you are a guy that works hard and comes to play every night. How do you describe yourself as a hockey player?

Nieminen: A competitor. I put winning in front of everything. I’m an energy guy [that’s there to] provide some spark. I [always] want to be remembered as a good teammate.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: There’s a Ville Nieminen fund for youth hockey in Finland. Every time you score a goal, a group of 30 people contribute money to the fund. How did that come about?

Nieminen: I’m not scoring many, so the fund is pretty broke right now. In previous years, we had a good season, but this year, we have to find other ways to find money.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing today?

Nieminen: Probably be a firefighter…or a lumberjack.

David Backes: (chiming in) Driving the zamboni.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: What’s your best golf score?

Nieminen: 84.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: And that’s on 18 holes, correct?

Nieminen: 84 in 18 holes? No (laughing). 102 holes.

Backes: That’s not a very good score.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: You played on some great teams with some great players, like Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Joe Thornton. What can you take away from playing with guys like that?

Nieminen: That’s another way to look at it. I’ve been in many places and I’ve been fortunate (enough) to meet a lot of good hockey players. You learn, you learn from everybody.

STLOUISBLUES.COM: Andy Murray said the other day that when he was coaching in Los Angeles, everyone on the Kings bench hated to play against you. What is it like to be the most hated guy on the ice?

Nieminen: (Laughing). Just the LA Kings? You know, on gamedays, I still get my two hour nap and at night, I get eight hours of sleep. It doesn’t bother me.
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