Men's Olympic Hockey Preview - Finland

December 30, 2009

Finland


Olympic Appearances: First appeared in 1952
Best Finish: 2nd (1988, 2006)
Total Medals Won: 4
Pool: Sweden, Germany, Belarus

The Fins are always a dangerous team, mainly because they have become a goaltending factory. After riding a very hot Miikka Kiprusoff  Niittymäki to a silver medeal in 2006, Finland comes in looking to improve in 2010. Can Kipper recapture that magic, and become the 1998 Hasek...carrying a team to gold?

Realistically, I think Finland is a lock to make the quarterfinals, and could even make the final four. Of course in a short tournament anythign can happen, but I put the Fins on about the same level as the Americans and Czechs. They aren't a favorite to take home a medal, but it won't be a shocker if they do.

Goaltenders
Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames, NHL)
Niklas Bäckström (Minnesota Wild, NHL)
Antero Niittymäki (Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL)
Defence
Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia Flyers, NHL)
Sami Salo (Vancouver Canucks, NHL)
Joni Pitkänen (Carolina Hurricanes, NHL)
Lasse Kukkonen (Avangard Omsk, RUS)
Toni Lydman (Buffalo Sabres, NHL)
Sami Lepistö (Phoenix Coyotes, NHL)
Janne Niskala (Frölunda, SWE)

Forwards

Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild, NHL)
Tuomo Ruutu (Carolina Hurricanes, NHL)
Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings, NHL)
Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks, NHL)
Saku Koivu (Anaheim Ducks, NHL)
Jere Lehtinen (Dallas Stars, NHL)
Niklas Hagman (Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL)
Olli Jokinen (Calgary Flames, NHL)
Antti Miettinen (Minnesota Wild, NHL)
Jarkko Ruutu (Ottawa Senators, NHL)
Niko Kapanen (Ak Bars Kazan, RUS)
Ville Peltonen (Dynamo Minsk, BLR)
Jarkko Immonen (Ak Bars Kazan, RUS)

This Finnish team is very similar to the one that took the Silver medal in 2006, and as with Sweden, why mess with success right? The issue again though is, that each of these guys have another 4 years on their frames, are they still the same players they were in 2006?

The other issue here is a lack of elite talent up front. The Fins have excellent depth, but I think the only player you can say is the best on his own NHL team is M. Koivu. Beyond that, its alot of 2nd and 3rd liners on NHL teams.

Of course, that doesn't include the goaltending, where either of Kipper/Backstrom would be good enough to lead this team to a medal. Throw in Niittymäki and you have a pretty solid trio.

Linkback: Other Rosters

3 comments:

Anonymous,  January 8, 2010 at 7:50 AM  

Kiprusoff didn't play in Turin. Finland's goelie back then was Antero Niitymaki, who was chosen MVP of the tournament.

Scott Fraser January 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

Right you are...I knew that too, I dont know why the hell I said Kipper. Thanks for the correction...

Maroussia April 8, 2010 at 2:43 AM  

It will be great to watch Carolina Hurricanes, i have bought tickets from http://ticketfront.com/event/Carolina_Hurricanes-tickets looking forward to it.

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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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