What is the only Finnish word in the English language?

Answer: Sauna. (Or “SOW-na,” if you want to sound like a Finn.)

That means Jesse Puljujarvi had one word mastered when he arrived in Edmonton. According to the Oxford Dictionary, that’s one down, 171,475 to go.

“Living over here is not that different from Finland,” the 19-year-old said this week, in Finnish. “There are a lot (more) hockey games, and the language is the hardest.”

The oft-asked question to an Edmonton scribe from vices around the NHL goes something like this: “How is Puljujarvi doing there, anyhow?”

The answer, after a three–point game Saturday, his finest National Hockey League effort thus far in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks? Not badly.

“It was a fun night and a good win. I think we all played well as a team, as did our line,” he said in broken English after the game. “(Leon) Draisaitl and (Milan) Lucic are very good players.”

It’s a confusing time in the life of a young Finn, Puljujarvi being the increasingly rare European teenager who arrived with barely any English. From Finland, no less, a language that has zero congruencies with our own.

Where Jari Kurri honed his English skills in the ‘80s by watching episodes of Happy Days and the Flintstones, Puljujarvi will soon be paired with an English teacher. Right now, he gets by on a smile and some fabulous NHL tools.