Hockey Article

Finland's Olympic Roster

In 2006, the Finns shocked the world with their impressive play and tied the country’s all time best finish with a silver medal. Antero Niittymaki was named tournament MVP after allowing only 8 goals throughout the tournament in the absence of an injured Miikka Kiprusoff. Many of the same faces will be present for Finland at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, as the Finns have one of the more veteran rosters in competition.

Goalies Miikka Kiprusoff: Kiprusoff probably has the edge over Backstrom for the starting job, with a miniscule 2.16 GAA and 23 wins with Calgary this season.

Niklas Backstrom: Backstrom gives the Finns a very capable alternative in net, as he has developed into one of the elite netminders in the Western Conference over the past two or three seasons.

Antero Niittymaki: The hero of 2006, Niittymaki will likely see very little ice time with two stars ahead of him on the depth chart. Still, in 19 games with the Lightning this season, he has a very respectable .918 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA.

Defensemen Lasse Kukkonen: Kukkoken played only four seasons in the NHL, mostly with the Flyers, but has had a good year with Avangard Omsk in the KHL, with 5 goals and 28 penalty minutes through 37 games.

Sami Lepisto: One of the younger members of this veteran team, Lepisto is a product of the Jokerit club in the SM-liiga and the successful Hershey Bears in the AHL, where he scored 87 points in the last two year. He has 5 points in 38 games for Phoenix this season.

Toni Lydman: The veteran defender has spent the last five seasons with Buffalo, where he has been a staple of a very solid defensive hockey club. Lydman has played on Finnish national teams since the early ‘90s and will be expected to help carry a leadership role.

Janne Niskala: One of only a few Finns that are not currently playing in the NHL, Niskala played only 6 NHL games in 2008-09, before returning to Sweden where he finished the season with Frolunda.

Joni Pitkanen: Yet another veteran defender on the Finnish blueline, the former 4th overall pick is very solid defensively while still providing plenty of pop on offense.

Sami Salo: Salo is beginning to show his age a bit this season, with only 11 points so far, but he’s still a veteran with plenty of international experience.

Kimmo Timonen: Headlining this group of veteran D-men, Timonen does it all: scoring, solid defense and headmanning the powerplay. Think Andrei Markov for the Russians or Scott Niedermayer for the Canadians.

Forwards Valtteri Filppula: A great two-way player, Filppula has been one of the many Red Wings bitten by the injury bug this season. Broke the 40 point plateau for the first time last season.

Niklas Hagman: Once thought to be somewhat of an NHL bust, Hagman has seen his career rejuvenated in Toronto, and is currently leading the team in goals scored with 16.

Jarkko Immonen: Immonen probably has the least NHL experience on this roster, but is having a great year in Russia, playing with fellow Finn Niko Kapanen on Ak Bars Kazan.

Olli Jokinen: After years of being the only star in Florida and Phoenix, Jokinen has played well in Calgary, and is on pace for a 60 point season.

Niko Kapanen: The speedy forward left the Coyotes in 2008 to play in Russia, totaling 31 points last season with Ak Bars Kazan.

Mikko Koivu: Koivu will be looking to have a breakout tournament, if his NHL numbers are any indication. He’s currently ranked 22nd overall in points scored with 42, and is on pace to shatter his previous career high.

Saku Koivu: Mikko’s older brother, Saku is one of the most beloved Finns to ever play the game. Playing with Selanne in Anaheim, Koivu should hit 50+ points for the 8th time in his career.

Jere Lehtinen: One of the best two way forwards in the game for the early part of this decade, Lehtinen’s offensive production has slipped recently, but his experience and ability to help out in his own end make him a valuable asset.

Antti Miettinen: After setting a career high with 29 assists and 44 points in his first season with the Wild last year, Miettinen is currently looking to have a very similar final stat line. Speed, scoring and plenty of playmaking ability.

Ville Peltonen: Peltonen is having a good year in the KHL, and was one of the Finns’ leading scorers in the 2006 Games.

Jarkko Ruutu: Grit, tenacity and the occasional scoring are what Ruutu brings to the table: keep an eye out for him should the Finns meet up with Czech Republic, as he and Jaromir Jagr have a long running feud.

Tuomo Ruutu: Much like his older brother, Tuomo is never afraid to mix it up. He is a much bigger threat offensively, however, and that makes him even more dangerous.

Teemu Selanne> Teemu Selanne: The Finnish Flash may not have the explosive speed that earned him his nickname back in the good old days with the Winnipeg Jets, but the old timer can still bring it. At 39, he is still one of the most talented players on this roster.

Roster depth: Fair Medal Chances: Slim

Len robinson
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