A lot about hockey these days despite that it is July. Well, the teams are announcing their names for the Sochi Olympics. Finland and Erkka Westerlund have announced the preliminary squad for awhile ago. Here are the names of the lion squad:
Niklas Bäckström,Kari Lehtonen,Antti Niemi,Antti Raanta,Tuukka Rask,Pekka Rinne Kari Rämö,Petri Vehanen
Juuso Hietanen,Topi Jaakola,Joonas Järvinen,Jere Karalahti,Lasse Kukkonen,Teemu Laakso, Sami Lepistö,Toni Lydman,Tuukka Mäntylä,Janne Niskala,Petteri Nummelin,Joni Pitkänen,Sami Salo,Kimmo Timonen,Sami Vatanen,Ossi Väänänen
Juhamatti Aaltonen,Aleksander Barkov,Sean Bergenheim,Valtteri Filppula,Mikael Granlund,Niklas Hagman,Teemu Hartikainen,Juha-Pekka Hytönen,Jarkko Immonen,Jesse Joensuu,Jussi Jokinen,Olli Jokinen,Niko Kapanen,Mikko Koivu,Saku Koivu,Leo Komarov,Petri Kontiola,Lauri Korpikoski,Jarno Koskiranta,Jori Lehterä,Ville Leino,Antti Miettinen,Janne Pesonen,Lennart Petrell,Antti Pihlström,Jarkko Ruutu,Tuomo Ruutu,Sakari Salminen,Veli-Matti Savinainen,Teemu Selänne
Of course it is very interesting that Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen (Olli) might be there again, despite that all three said that they were done with the national team after the last Olympics in Vancouver 2010. I think all depends how they feel during the season until the olympics and how the actual condition is the days before leaving to Sochi. No doubt that they are still good, but I think it is more interesting and exiting with the new guys who never played such great tournament before.
If Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen won’t play, then Finland have stepped into a new era in hockey for sure. These guys has been there for a long time for sure, but somehow I really feel that it is time for a change. Not only because a change is needed, but there is after all new coming stars. Let them have the show.
Wise decision then by Westerlund to put the Barkov name on the list. He’s one of the most talented players at the moment and he’d be perfect for Sochi, no doubt at all. He’s not for holding in chains. Let him free and we’ll see rather some goalscoring.
I wonder how Petri Kontiola will handle the situation if – let us say – Selänne, Koivu and Jokinen added Mikko Koivu will play. Will he step back from the position as a leader for the team, a position he naturally picked after such a fine World championship tournament he did last? Or will he remain as one of the leaders or be THE leader?
Of course there is no guarantees for success (or fail) whatever Westerlund choose to do with the team and what players he will pick, but there must be a leader for the lion pack, a natural one and hopefully 3-4 guys who can show the way for the rest of the team.
About the goalies…I wonder if any team have such strong goaltending part (?). The goalies wont be a problem at all at the moment. I think though that we will see Tuukka Rask in Sochi.
Quite interesting autumn we’ll have I have to say. I think any player will make everything to make a place in the squad. Also, I am glad that NHL and IIHF have this agreement that the best players shall play in the Olympics.
Let us refresh our memories and watch some hockey sweet for the eye. Finland – Slovakia Olympic games 2010 in Vancouver. And I am looking forward for some revenge against the US team of course (Smile)
/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe
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