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.
|Member Since||February 10, 1928|
|Men’s World Ranking||2|
|Women’s World Ranking||3|
B, with Canada, Norway and Austria.
|Kari Lehtonen||Dallas Stars|
|Antti Niemi||San Jose Sharks|
|Tuukka Rask||Boston Bruins|
|Olli Määttä||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Sami Salo||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Kimmo Timonen||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Sami Vatanen||Anaheim Ducks|
|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|
|Lauri Korpikoski||Phoenix Coyotes|
|Tuomo Ruutu||Carolina Hurricanes|
|Teemu Selanne||Anaheim Ducks|
Teemu Selanne, Mikko Koivu, Olli Jokinen, up-and-comer Aleksander Barkov, goaltenders Lehtonen, Niemi and Rask.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Times are GMT+4, (MSK – Moscow Standard Time)
Thursday, Feb. 13th: FIN 12:00 AUT
Friday, Feb. 14th: NOR 21:00 FIN
Sunday, February 16th: FIN 21:00 CAN