Feb 10, 2014, 11:08 AM EST
Teemu Selanne might’ve found a new gig in Sochi — babysitting.
On Monday, Finland announced that Selanne, 43, would open the Olympic tournament on the team’s top line with 21-year-old Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund and 18-year-old Florida forward Aleksander Barkov.
“[Selanne] is our top player and so motivated and in really good condition,” Finland assistant coach Lauri Marjamaki said, per the L.A. Times. “He’s an important player for us.”
It sounds as though Finland plans on loading up Selanne with ice time, especially in light of the ankle injuries that prevented Valtteri Filppula and Mikko Koivu from playing. Star power is thin up front, which is likely why the Finns are putting Selanne on a line with two of the brightest young prospects the country has to offer — Barkov, the second overall selection at the ’13 NHL Entry Draft, is Florida’s fifth-leading scorer this season while Granlund sits third on the Wild in assists, with 23.
(Fun fact, per the Times: Barkov wasn’t even born when Selanne made his Olympic debut in ’92.)
Selanne skipped Anaheim’s final game prior to the break to rest up for Sochi, and that appears to be a wise move. Marjamaki said the Finnish team will utilize Selanne in all sorts of situations and not hold back on his minutes.
“We know what he is feeling now but he is so motivated and in good condition, and he is taking a rest for a while with the Ducks,” Marjamaki said. “But he is coming here and he is so happy, and we are happy that Teemu is with our team.”
- Canucks’ Bieksa: ‘If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is’ 13
- Luongo has Twitter fun at Canucks’ expense 19
- Sabres spoil Callahan’s Lightning debut, Stamkos’ return 1
- Dealing with the Devils: NHL reverses Kovalchuk punishment 47
- Playoff bubble watch — Rangers edition 14
- Video: Emotional day for Martin St. Louis ends in OT loss for Rangers 27
- Video: Caps, Flyers engage in another line brawl 53
- PHT’s 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker 28
- Winners and losers of the 2014 trade deadline 48
- Montreal wins Vanek sweepstakes (Updated) 46
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Sabres send Miller, Ott to Blues for package including Halak, Stewart (74)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)