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Latvian Kenins getting lots of love back home
16 февраля 2015 года. Ziemer, Brad. The Vancouver Sun

 Most NHL fans know by now that they take their hockey quite seriously in Latvia.

The Baltic state may have fewer citizens than Metro Vancouver, but last month a good number of them voted to make one of their own, Buffalo forward Zemgus Girgensons, a starter in the NHL All-Star Game.

So, needless to say, Ronalds Kenins' exploits with the Vancouver Canucks are getting some attention back home.

"Reporters back home try to reach me but I have no time and they don't have my number," Kenins says with a smile. "It is good for the country, of course. I hope I motivate some kids."

Kenins probably got more headlines in Riga newspapers on the weekend after he scored again in Vancouver's 3-2 loss Saturday night to the Calgary Flames.

The 23-year-old, a Swiss league veteran who was signed by Vancouver in the summer of 2013, had scored five goals in 36 games with the AHL's Utica Comets before being recalled by the Canucks. He now has three goals in just seven games with the Canucks.

Kenins opened the scoring Saturday night when he took a pass from linemate Jannik Hansen, bolted down the left wing and beat Flames goalie Karri Ramo short side with a shot from the faceoff circle.

His offence has been an unexpected bonus. What has most impressed the Canucks is Kenins' work ethic and physical play.

"His physicality, that's the No. 1 thing that stands out for me," Hansen said. "It's not something you expect from a small European. You expect skill, finesse, that kind of game. He definitely has that, he has a good shot, but the way he is able to get in on forechecks, finish hits and not just bumping guys but actually big checks, is the biggest thing I have noticed."

If Kenins looks like he is playing to keep his new job with the Canucks, that's because he is.

"Everybody wants to play in the NHL and I have that chance," he says. "I try to work hard every shift. I just do the simple things, go hard to the net and hit guys."

Kenins has played all seven games on the fourth line with Bo Horvat at centre and, most recently, Hansen on the other wing.

Kenins said he has had to learn quickly that mistakes simply can't be made at the NHL level.

"This league is the best league in the world. If you turn the puck over it costs you a goal. If you make a mistake it will cost you a goal. You have to work hard every shift, you can't be like, 'Ah, after this shift I will take it easy.'" Kenins has played so well he has made it hard for coach Willie Desjardins to take him out of the lineup. But that could possibly happen in Monday night's game against the Minnesota Wild as the Canucks are anxious to give recent waiver wire pickup Brandon McMillan a look.

Страничка Рональда Кениньша на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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