PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 04: Ville Leino #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers talks to the media after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 4-3 in Game Four of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Wachovia Center on June 4, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Ville Leino came back to Finland on Monday to relax and enjoy the summer. He talks about adjusting to the luxury life style in the NHL, his contract situation and the Stanley Cup finals.
Very few people on the streets seem to recognize Leino in Helsinki. He says it's different in Philadelphia.
"People don't recognize and come to me that often in Finland, but hockey is so big in Philadelphia that people recognize me there."
Leino says he's been treated like a star and he's been able to enjoy it.
"Well, yeah, it is easier when you can get past the lines or when you don't have to wait for things to be handled."
"It is a luxury life. But you get used to it, and it's not that much different compared to any other kind of life. And when you play 82 games a season, travel continuously and live in hotels, it shakes off the glamour sometimes."
Right now, Leino says his agent is in contact with the Flyers, but the negotiations won't really start until July.
"We're feeling things a bit right now and the negotiations officially begin on July 1st."
And how much is Leino going to get?
"It won't be less than a million", Leino smiles.
Leino also doesn't exclude the possibility of signing elsewhere. He believes there will be other GMs knocking on his door come July.
Wherever he signs, he's looking for a long term deal.
"I'm a bit of a different type of player, so I think there's demand for a player like me in many teams. Of course I want to be on a good team and in a good role."
"And when you're signing a long term deal, money is one part of it, of course."
Leino has made it clear before that he's able to enjoy his new luxury life style, so a bigger contract would be good news for him off the ice, too.
"Money gives you opportunities to do things that you couldn't do otherwise. You can live in a bit bigger apartment, drive a bit better car, buy a bit more expensive clothes and travel to places you couldn't get to otherwise. The greatest thing is that you can get experiences that you wouldn't have the chance to get otherwise."
"I'm pretty good at wasting money and I don't stress about it. If I want something, I buy it. I spend a little too much on clothes, watches, guitars and stereo systems."
But while Leino allows himself to enjoy the things he has earned with his play, there's no mistake about it; they are far from being the priority in his mind.
"Stanley Cup is the big thing and Olympic gold or any other gold can't get on that same level. It's such a big thing because you play a long season and then two months of playoffs after that."
Leino is also far from happy about his own season and demands more out of himself.
"It was a slightly above average season that guaranteed a good starting point for next season. I had that flow-feeling only in a couple of games and I should have that feeling all the time."
"I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement - in points and everything else. I want to achieve something."
One thing to achieve could have been the World Championship as Finland went on to win the gold this year, after the Flyers had been eliminated in the playoffs. But Leino skipped the tournament.
"The contract situation was the biggest reason. I was also pretty tired after a long season and I also had some small bruises throughout the season."
"Of course I'd like to be there winning the World Championship, but I'm not someone who thinks about the ‘what ifs'. I didn't have the chance to be around this time, so it's no use to feel bad about it."
With or without Leino, the Stanley Cup finals are on and Leino is ready to admit that he has a favorite in the finals.
"And of course Zdeno Chara is a good defenseman whom they will play against the Canucks' top guys, especially at home. He's big and strong, has a good reach and is in great shape. He's one of the toughest opponents in the league."
The saying, ‘your best players need to be your best players' rings true for the Canucks as well.
"Roberto Luongo has been good in the crucial games. Ryan Kesler is a pretty versatile player and of course the Sedin brothers will have the most pressure about their offensive game working like it should."
This report was based off of a Finnish-language story in the publication Iltalehti.