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Ruutu enjoyed showing 'Canes sauna experience

by Dan Rosen
HELSINKI -- Carolina coach Paul Maurice didn't go to Sauna Island with his players Tuesday, nor does he want to know any of the details from the players-only event organized by Helsinki resident Tuomo Ruutu.

Asked what he has heard about the players' full-tilt sauna experience, one of Finland's cultural phenomenons, Maurice said, "That they had a great time and it was a really, really good team event. I don't want too many details on the event."

"You know, if you don't go mining you don't get a lot of stuff," he added with a laugh. "It was, 'Did you guys have a good time yesterday?' Yup, good. And then you just keep moving. Don't get stuck in one spot. You'll hear too many things."

According to Hurricanes forward Patrick Dwyer there weren't too many juicy, 'Don't tell them I told you,' details to come out of the trip.

"It was more of an opportunity for guys to sit down and chat with guys that maybe on a normal regular basis you wouldn't because they've got families and you're a young guy, stuff like that," Dwyer told "It brought guys together and put guys in a situation they might not normally have been in."

Specifically the North American guys -- save for captain Eric Staal, who has his own sauna at his lake house in Thunder Bay, Ont., the Finnish capital of Canada.

Dwyer said he could last in the hot sauna for only two or three minutes before he had to bolt.

"I'm not great with heat, but those Finnish guys were able to stay in it while I was right out of it," Dwyer said. "I do feel much better from it, though."

Ruutu said he had to hold his laughter when he saw the North American guys running out of the heat.

"It's lack of practice," he said. "You can imagine if you did it for the first time in your life, but I did it three or four times a week in the summer. So it is a lack of practice."

The tradition is to leave the sauna and dive right into the ocean, which Dwyer said he and most players did. But the water was only 50 degrees Fahrenheit, "so you got in to about the shoulders and you ran out. It's one extreme to the other," Dwyer said.

The obvious jokes and embarrassing moments led to the ideal experience for the players and it swelled Ruutu with pride. He said he was so happy to see the smiling faces on all of his teammates, who were willing to try anything.

"They saw and they really did everything I asked them to do, and they were open to try everything," Ruutu said. "That makes me feel really good and all the other Finnish guys really good. I felt that since they published that we were going to play here, I felt that the Carolina Hurricanes really wanted to come here and see our home country. Since that I have felt honored, really good about it, that they wanted to be here.

"That's how I am taking it and that's how the other Finnish guys are taking it. Everybody has been really open with the food and the sauna. This is where I'm from. This is where Joni (Pitkanen) and Jussi (Jokinen) are from. We're proud of where we're from and it's nice that they have liked it here, too."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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