Credit to Marko Leppänen of kiekkoareena.fi for the interview. According to the man himself, Rantanen will be traveling from Reykjavik back to Denver next Tuesday to fully begin preparing for the season.
(please forgive the rough translation)
Mikko Rantanen: “It's fun to go back to Denver when you know the places and people there. In the first season I was still a little lost, for example, where the arena is located...With the language I did quite well from the very beginning, even though it still needs to improve. However, I've been pretty good at English, at TPS I had spoken with foreign guys.”
Marko Leppanen: Rantanen did not even have to pack his own Playstation, in Denver he’ll just get a new consol.
Rantanen: “I've been flying so much in recent years, so much so that it’s become routine. And fortunately, I get pretty good sleep on the plane.”
ML: Rantanen can enter the plane with good intent because is coming back from a great summer. He was able to start to work out early because Colorado's didn’t make the playoffs. He started a hard workout routine at Hannu Rautala's gym. Rantanen has been able to practice the whole summer healthy, as seen in the results.
Rantanen: “There has been progress in every area, but we have been trying to get more explosive. My goal would be to get a better first step.
We have not been running but Rautala will realize with the eye whether the performance is good or not” Rantanen laughs.
ML: Rantanen has been on the ice during the summer with other Finnish NHL players being coached by Jukka Koivu's.
Rantanen: “They've been good workouts, lots of plays when there's less people on the ice.”
ML: Rantanen leaves for Colorado training camp with completely different outlook than a year ago. Then his first goal was to make the team.
Now Rantanen belongs in the NHL and will be in the lineup every night. Last season's 20 goals were a promising start but expectations are rising all the time.
Rantanen: “I know the crowd and I feel like I'm going to another home.”
ML: The Colorado Avalanche has been young in recent years and the team has been out of the playoff for three consecutive seasons. Last season, the team only won 22 of their 82 games.
It has been a tough place in a city that has become accustomed to success. Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.
Rantanen: “The situation is tough in Denver, but faith is surely there. However, it is noteworthy that it is a tough city.”
ML: Avalanche remained quiet in the free agency market this summer, and the goal of the club management is to give young players more responsibility. Rantanen brings up forward Tyson Jost, whose role will certainly be higher in the next season.
Rantanen: “We have the potential, but we need more consistency. Everyone has to take a step forward.”
ML: Colorado's situation is at least better than a year ago, when head coach Patrick Roy, quit unexpectedly before the start of the training camp.
Rantanen: “It was not that ideal when we did not know who was going to be the coach. But we can’t blame that too much”