Teemu Selanne to play in 6th Olympics for goalie-rich Finland
Rask, Niemi, Lehtonen form star goalie trio
The Finnish Olympic hockey team was selected on Tuesday, featuring an outstanding goaltending trio and 16 NHL players in total.
Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, despite diminished production this season, made the cut and compete in his sixth Olympics in Sochi beginning in mid-February.
Selanne first played for his country at the Olympics in 1992, just before he made a sensation in the NHL with a 76-goal rookie season with the original Winnipeg Jets. The 43-year-old has earned a silver and two bronze with the Finnish team.
Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild is also on the list despite having to undergo ankle surgery, putting his participation in doubt. Koivu's older brother, Saku, a teammate of Selanne's in Anaheim, is not on the roster.
The country of just over five million, known for its number of great goaltenders per capita, settled on a trio of Tuukka Rask (Boston), Kari Lehtonen (Dallas), and Antti Niemi (San Jose). That left the likes of Pekka Rinne (Nashville) and Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota).
While the team has a number of thirty-something veterans like Jussi Jokinen (Pittsburgh), Olli Jokinen (Winnipeg) and Sami Salo (Tampa Bay), there are also a pair of teenagers on the squad: Penguins defenceman Olli Maatta, and 18-year-old Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers.
Finland has reached the podium in the Olympic tournament four of the last five times, winning a silver medal in to go along with three bronze.
Finland is assigned to Group B along with Canada, Norway and Austria.
The roster is as follows:
- Kari Lehtonen, 30, G, Dallas Stars
- Antti Niemi, 30, G, San Jose Sharks
- Tuukka Rask, 26, G, Boston Bruins
- Juuso Hietanen, 28, D, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
- Lasse Kukkonen, 32, D, Karpat (FIN)
- Teemu Laakso, 26, D, Cherepovets Severstal (KHL)
- Sami Lepisto, 29, D, Yekaterinburg (KHL)
- Olli Maatta, 19, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Sami Salo, 39, D, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Kimmo Timonen, 38, D, Philadelphia Flyers
- Sami Vatanen 22, D, Anaheim Ducks
- Ossi Vaananen, 33, D, Jokerit Helsinki (FIN)
- Juhamatti Aaltonen, 28, F, Karpat (FIN)
- Aleksander Barkov, 18, F, Florida Panthers
- Valtteri Filppula, 29, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Mikael Granlund, 21, F, Minnesota Wild
- Jussi Jokinen, 30, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Olli Jokinen, 35, F, Winnipeg Jets
- Mikko Koivu, 30, F, Minnesota Wild
- Leo Komarov, 26, F, Moscow Dynamo (KHL)
- Petri Kontiola, 29, F, Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL)
- Lauri Korpikoski, 27, F, Phoenix Coyotes
- Jori Lehtera, 26, F, Novosibirsk Siber (KHL)
- Antti Pihlstrom, 29, F, Ufa Salavat (KHL)
- Tuomo Ruutu, 30, F, Carolina Hurricanes
- Teemu Selanne, 43, F, Anaheim Ducks