finns win

It’s finally here. With the Olympics getting under way and the hockey starting soon, it’s time to roll out our preview of each team between now and puck drop. May the best team win.

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The basics

Finland is ranked second overall by the IIHF. They’re sporting 16 NHLers on their roster, they’re coached by Erkka Westerlund, and they took home bronze from the 2010 Winter Olympics.finland-2

Member Since February 10, 1928
Total Players 66,636
Male Players 24,778
Junior Players 37,071
Female Players 4,787
Total Referees 50
Indoor Rinks 259
Outdoor Rinks 15
Nation Population 5,266,114
President Kalervo Kummola
Men’s World Ranking 2
Women’s World Ranking 3

 

Group

B, with Canada, Norway and Austria.

Roster

Goaltenders NHL Team
Kari Lehtonen Dallas Stars
Antti Niemi San Jose Sharks
Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Defensemen  
Lasse Kukkonen
Juuso Hietanen
Sami Lepisto
Olli Määttä Pittsburgh Penguins
Sami Salo Tampa Bay Lightning
Kimmo Timonen Philadelphia Flyers
Ossi Väänänen
Sami Vatanen Anaheim Ducks
Forwards  
Juhamatti Aaltonen
Aleksander Barkov Florida Panthers
Valtteri Filppula Tampa Bay Lightning
Mikael Granlund Minnesota Wild
Jussi Jokinen Pittsburgh Penguins
Olli Jokinen Winnipeg Jets
Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild
Leo Komarov
Petri Kontiola
Lauri Korpikoski Phoenix Coyotes
Jori Lehtera
Antii Pihlström
Tuomo Ruutu Carolina Hurricanes
Teemu Selanne Anaheim Ducks

Biggest names

Teemu Selanne, Mikko Koivu, Olli Jokinen, up-and-comer Aleksander Barkov, goaltenders Lehtonen, Niemi and Rask.

Depth

The Finns may not be as deep as the most elite few in the tournament, but sporting 16 NHL players on your roster is good enough to make you a threat. This is a one game elimination tournament, meaning you’re able to shorten your bench without having to worry about four best-of-seven series like you do in the NHL. Nine non-NHLers is quite a few if you hope to win, but since you can thoughtlessly empty the tanks of your best guys, it’s not insurmountable.fins_2-2

Strengths

Goaltending. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. The Finns certainly have the talent to score some goals, being that they possess a nice mix of veteran guys and young talent, most of whom are pretty reliable at both ends of the ice. But man. Goaltending. Tuukka Rask is probably one of the world’s three best goaltenders, and their back-ups happen to both be quality NHL starters. Again: one game elimination tourney and you’ve got the best goaltending? You’ve got a shot.

Weaknesses

Finland is lucky to have the best goaltending in the tournament, because they’re going to need it. A top four of Timonen, Maata, Vatanen and Salo would be okay in the NHL, but not against the all-star teams Canada, the US, Sweden and Russia are going to throw at them.

Prediction

I have them finishing fifth, but I would not be pleased about facing them in a quarterfinal game. With upset potential, they could be the type of team that sends hopeful teams to a finish of fifth or below.

Schedule

Times are GMT+4, (MSK – Moscow Standard Time)

Thursday, Feb. 13th: FINFinland 12:00 AustriaAUT
Friday, Feb. 14th: NORNorway 21:00 FinlandFIN
Sunday, February 16th: FINFinland 21:00 CanadaCAN

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Other Previews

Canada

Sweden

USA

Russia

Czech Republic

Slovakia

Switzerland

Norway

Latvia

Austria

Slovenia