Sochi Olympics hockey: Team Finland preview

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Team Finland could end up being the most NHL-esque team in Sochi despite featuring nine players that are from other leagues around the world. Russia, Canada and Sweden are all built to play run and gun hockey. Team USA selected players that were fast above all else, and will be an attacking team as well.

Finland doesn’t have the horses to run with those rosters, but they have defense and goaltending to spare.

If Canada has an “embarrassing amount” of depth at center, then Finland is just as spoiled in net. Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen make up the impressive goalie trio that the squad will take to Sochi. That’s mildly ridiculous.

If there’s one thing standing between Team Finland and a medal, it’s a lack of scoring depth. It’s still unclear at this juncture whether or not Mikko Koivu will be able to participate, which is a shot to the already lackluster offensive punch that the squad has. Saku Koivu will also miss the tourney, which means that the Finns will be leaning heavily on some young talent to put up some points.

The equalizer could be the nine players that aren’t from the NHL. They’re already acclimated to the larger international ice surface, and familiarity is a strong indicator of success. While Finland isn’t as favored as the powerhouse squads, they shouldn’t be looked over either.

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Topics: 2014 Winter Olympics, Men's Hockey, Sochi Olympics

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