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Interview of Tuomo and Jarkko Ruutu

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07-03-2010, 08:03 AM
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SouthernBaseball
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Interview of Tuomo and Jarkko Ruutu

Part of a series where famous siblings talk about each other.

Two forwards

Jarkko Ruutu can't hit his baby brother Tuomo injured, because their mother would be upset.

Jarkko Ruutu, 34, has played in the NHL since 1999. His current team is the Ottawa Senators. He broke a record in the Finnish Elite League for the most penalty minutes in a season in 2004-2005. Tuomo Ruutu, 27, started in NHL in 2003. Chicago Blackhawks drafted him in 2001. Currently he plays for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jarkko: "Me and my baby brother Mikko had wished for a pet for a long time as our mum and dad sat us on the couch. When they told us we would be having a new family member we asked if it would be a dog or a guinea pig.

Tuomo got lucky. We had enough difference in age for him not to get picked on at home. Mikko annoyed me and I picked on Mikko, but if Mikko was after Tuomo, I'd defend Tuomo. Both my baby brothers are of the kind that how strong they might ever be, they always have to be looked after. I want to what's happening with them and where they stand.

Tuomo was two or three years old when he got his first local Vantaa team jersey. He played at the side of the rink and shot at a small goal. Tuomo was playing with older kids and never complained even if he got a bit hurt.

He was about to quit hockey at 14 for football (soccer). We thought about it in the sauna and I said to him he couldn't do it before he was 15. A year passed and he quit football and dedicated to hockey. He was practicing on his own from morning late to the night and was sometimes on ice before even before the school day started. It says something about our attitude that on winter we pulled our equipment bags on sled.

Our parents didn't make us go to hockey practice, we went at ourr own will. That's why we never go tired or playing like many other kids whose parents were trying to make them into NHL stars by force. We had more of an academical family, and we always had to be good at school. Mikko's playing career ended on an injury, and he took on the academical world. Me and Tuomo's studies ended after secondary upper school. We however are in a happy situation because the chance to get to the NHL from Finland is minimal. It has required hard work, luck and mental toughness, which sometimes Tuomo has too much of. To Tuomo not being at your best every night counts as failing.

We're both quite stubborn and even selfish and we're not good at losing. When he play something together, we feel no mercy. When Tuomo lost at a card game at our cottage, he got nettle-beaten by five guys and couldn't sleep for three nights. I had to sit naked on an ant nest when I lost. Oftentimes the competition doesn't stop until the oldest one wins or we get into such a tough fight we can't continue.

It was a burden to Tuomo that I was playing professional before him. Nowadays you don't hear people saying he's advancing because of his brother's merits, probably because he's a lot better than me. Soon it will be more like me being the brother of Tuomo Ruutu. Tuomo has earned everything he's accomplished and I've never been jealous of him.

At start it felt odd to play against Tuomo in the NHL. I was hoping for our team to win but also for Tuomo to score goals. It's alright nowadays as I can see that Tuomo can make it on his own. He is strong and prepared. If I tried to hit him, I'd be the one getting the worst of it. But even if I could hit him hard and injure him, I wouldn't do it.

Tuomo has had a lot of injuries because he doesn't slow down. Long recovery periods have been hard on him. After the World Championships in 2006 he was so frustrated with rehabilitation and misfortune that he almost quit his career. Ultimately he couldn't live without hockey. He has learnt and grown so much with it.

Big brothers always want for baby brothers not to make any unnecessary mistakes. In the past years I haven't forced Tuomo my advice, because he gets quite upset when I do. I'm rather undisputed with my views. When I get going my message doesn't always come through the best way possible. Tuomo thinks I should present my views in a softer when in order to prevent people from having such strong reactions to them. It's good to hear opinions from your brothers because they are always truthful. Sometimes Tuomo has said I should concentrate on the playing part more on the ice. I bet he has had some disturbing moments when he's been told how crazy his brother is.

Nature is very important to Tuomo. Our grandfather ("paappa") is his idol. Paappa was a farmer from Ostrobothnia, a relentless man who was good at javelin throw. He had been on the forefront in World War II and never complained about anything. Paappa's positive mindset caught on Tuomo. Not many things bother Tuomo. He likes a simple life and is content with what he has. Even though Tuomo has made big money through the years, he has no intention of making a big deal of it. Fame doesn't define his life. In locker rooms he gets laugh at for being selected the most wanted bachelor by magazines during World Championships but he never comments on those kinds of things. To Tuomo it's important to be genuine. He doesn't like it when people pretend.

Tuomo has for a long time spoken about becoming a farmer like Paappa, even though he sometimes changes his mind very quickly. If I asked him if could see me in a week he says he doesn't know. How about tomorrow? 'We'll see.' Tuomo is a Mother Nature's son. He lives one day at a time without commitment to the next day."

Tuomo: "When you have two brothers, you learn to share. We have a video from our childhood where "Jakke" is very accurately pouring soda in to three glasses so everyone has the same amount. When Jakke puts too much in to his own glass, he takes a sip and says 'it's even now.'

I played hockey with my brothers very seriously even when I was young. When I was playing goalie, they shot with all their strength, but for a reason. I used to smack them with sticks. I was quite a pest when I was young. When I got in trouble with older boys, my last card was to call for Jakke's help. He enjoyed it a bit, to be able to help his brother in need. Family is all to Jakke.

Jakke used to collect hockey playing cards and he had the banner of every NHL-team on his wall. His idol was Wayne Gretzky. When they later met, I doubt they were high-fiving each other, like Jakke behaves in the company of his friends from Vantaa. I was following every movement of football player Jari Litmanen. I followed closely how he would tie his shoe laces and how he would do his warm-ups. Jakke was my greatest idol, though.

Me and Jakke weren't the most gifted athletes and Jakke wasn't a star in the juniors. He was very persistent, though, and determined. Misfortunes only powered him more.

Jakke is very smart and he probably would've wanted to educate himself, but he still has possibilities left on that front too. He studied for a year in the US on a scholarship but came back to play in Finland. It felt weird and at the same time great to see a member of your family play in the Finnish Elite League with your idols.

The year in the US was a time of growth for Jakke. To him hockey was always the number one sport but I for a long time wanted to make a career in football. Quitting football was one of the hardest decisions on my life, and it was heavily influenced by Jakke's example.

We have thriven each other forward, both of us. I have learnt persistensy from Jakke by seeing how hard he had to work to succeed.

Jakke was a part of raising me up as much as our parents. It's sometimes hard for him to let go of the role of a big brother. The most annoying thing is how he still sees me as a ten-year-old. I know it's only because he cares about me, and he would do anything for me. And there are things to control about me. I'm more impulsive than Jakke and I fumble. Most of the time he's right, which is something I will never admit to him.

Jakke is a player who is loved by his own team and hated by the opponents. He has a winner's mentality and will do anything to win. That also brings up emotions in spectators. The criticism is not something Jakke is fond of, but when he's on the ice he loves to get under an opponent's skin. It's not a coincidence that he plays the way he does. He follows hockey very carefully and knows very accurately the styles of his opponents. Jakke's name might not be on the race for scoring titles but he knows how to help his team. Not many people even seem to understand how smart of a player he is and how valuable he is to his team.

Playing against Jakke is contradictory. I'd rather play on the same team with him. He doesn't mistreat me on ice. If he did, mother would never let him hear the end of it. I've said to my teammates that if you comment on my brother or his playing style you risk having to fight for it with me.

Those who know something about hockey appreciate Jakke. Having played a long career in NHL and being selected to the Finnish national team means more than some spectator saying that he's crazy. I think Jakke likes the thought that people consider him a bit out of his mind. In personal life he's not all the flashy of a personality. He is calm and thinks about his moves for a long times. In the locker room he is very much liked and a funny guy.

When all of us brothers get together, our conversation is on the level of a bunch of ten-year-olds trying to best one another. If you lose at something to Jakke, you'll hear old day of him calling you a loser. If he loses, I do the same. One time when Jakke and Mikko were playing tennis on the "double or nothing" -principle, at one point Jakke owed Mikko 250 ice cream cones. Jakke doesn't give up easily. Our constant fight is he claiming to be better than me at tennis. I haven't been able to play for a long time because of my knee. Jakke says I'm just scared.

Even though we are competitive at games, we support each other in other aspects of life. When I moved to the US, I could call Jakke about anything that was bothering me and he would help. It would've been horrible for me had I not had such a caring big brother.

Jakke is already thinking about the time after his playing career. It probably has something to do with hockey. He's interested in developing himself and is studying the game while he can. Giving up playing will be hard, because nothing gives you the same kicks.

Hockey is a neat sport, and it's nice to shoot the puck to the net sometimes, but to Jakke the game is all about the team. He's a team player. The best part for him is when he gets to the rink and can joke with his teammates and share moments of joy. That's what Jakke loves."

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07-03-2010, 04:07 PM
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jbk ltd
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Wow, this is an outstanding article. Where did you find it, or did you write it? Is it an English publication or translated from a Finnish interview? I'd love to share it but would also appreciate knowing the source for proper credit.

Tuomo's my favorite player and stories like this remind me why. Heartwarming.

Thanks so much for sharing!


Last edited by jbk ltd: 07-03-2010 at 04:12 PM.
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07-03-2010, 11:45 PM
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Jerry Lundegaard
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LOL

what the hell is nettle-beaten???!!

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07-04-2010, 04:32 AM
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SouthernBaseball
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamie View Post
Wow, this is an outstanding article. Where did you find it, or did you write it? Is it an English publication or translated from a Finnish interview? I'd love to share it but would also appreciate knowing the source for proper credit.

Tuomo's my favorite player and stories like this remind me why. Heartwarming.

Thanks so much for sharing!
It's from a Finnish news paper Helsingin Sanomat, I did some rule-bending translation.

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07-04-2010, 04:35 AM
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SouthernBaseball
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Weathers View Post
LOL

what the hell is nettle-beaten???!!
you make a whisk of nettle and use it in whipping motion

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07-04-2010, 10:41 AM
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jbk ltd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBaseball View Post
It's from a Finnish news paper Helsingin Sanomat, I did some rule-bending translation.
I know what you mean about rule-bending translation. Google Translate doesn't quite do the trick, although the results are sometimes hilarious. I had looked for the article at the HS.fi site but couldn't find it anywhere, if you can find an online link I'd really appreciate it! And thanks again for posting. It's an excellent interview.

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07-10-2010, 12:58 AM
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Thanks for posting this excellent article, SouthernBaseball. Tuomo is one of my favorite players, and I love reading about his relationships with his brothers.

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07-10-2010, 03:10 AM
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Finns are awesome. I love how humble and respectful they are. Yes, it sounds funny saying that since Jarkko and Ville Niemenen were/are both huge agitators in the NHL but for the most part what I said seems to be true.

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07-10-2010, 04:01 AM
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A great read. Thanks for the translation.

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