photo Mike Lynaugh

Teppo's Back, But Where's The Leather Jacket?


The Buffalo Sabres have a new assistant coach. Former Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen has accepted a coaching  job with the organization, and will be stationed in the press box, communicating with his fellow assistant coaches James Patrick and Kevyn Adams during games.

The veteran of almost 1400 NHL games will trade in his trademark leather jacket for a blue and gold workout suit, and will no doubt be a not-so-secret weapon relaying great information to the boys on the bench. Teppo’s game was so cerebral, it bordered on the ridiculous, and it was only a matter of time before he found himself back with an NHL organization. The native of Tampere, Finland always thought the game one step, one play ahead of most of his peers, and his panic threshold was that of a brain surgeon.

There had been rumblings of his interest in coaching the past few months, and Teppo was most recently a consultant for the Finnish national team at the world junior championships, which were held in Buffalo last winter.

As many of you may recall, Teppo missed all but one game during the 2007-08 season due to an abnormality in his heart. He had successful surgery to repair a faulty valve in September of 2007 and, in one of the more inspiring stories of the year, returned for the Sabres final game that season. He expressed his desire for one more year of hockey, and returned for the 2008-09 season, in which he dressed for 57 games.

I live not too far from Teppo and his family, and by chance stood in line behind him at a small, local supermarket a while back. He stood there motionless, expressionless, coolly biding his time while the cashier bagged his groceries, and I don’t think he blinked once. His hair was slicked back as usual, and the fan of heavy metal and aggressive music looked the part in black t-shirt, leather jacket and black leather boots. All that was missing was some Iron Maiden, Megadeth or Judas Priest blasting from the store intercom. I’m sure “Screaming for Vengeance” or “Symphony of Destruction” was blasting away in his mind, while he calmly waited for his milk and bread to nestled in his shopping cart. He looked as cool off the ice as he was on it.

The dude is balls.

You think fellow Fin Ville Leino is excited about this? Numminen will be a huge asset to Lindy and his staff and, more importantly, the players. Yet another great move in what seems like an endless string of great moves since Terry Pegula took over as owner of the franchise.

Can we play some damn hockey already?



Tags: Buffalo Sabres Buffalo Sabres Coaches Finnish National Team Heavy Metal Hockey Fans James Patrick Kevyn Adams Lindy Ruff Teppo Numminen

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