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Selanne: Finns were ‘one step behind the whole game’

Feb 21, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21: Teemu Selanne #8 of Finland looks on during the Men's Ice Hockey Semifinal Playoff against Sweden on Day 14 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

Finland looked great in beating Russia in the Olympic quarterfinals but, according to its veteran leader, that win came at a cost.

“We were one step behind the whole game,” Finnish forward Teemu Selanne said after his team’s 2-1 loss to Sweden in the semifinals. “Maybe the Russia game took so much energy from us.”

As great a team as Finland is, the Olympics were a constant uphill battle. Selanne, 43, represents a squad that leaned heavily on its old guard. The Finnish roster includes four players that are at least 35 years old and another eight guys in their 30s.

Further taxing was a series of injuries both before and during the tournament that decimated them up the middle. The Finnish lineup would have certainly looked different if centers Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula and Aleksander Barkov were healthy.

On top of that, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was a late scratch today due to an illness.

This match against Sweden did nothing to rejuvenate the Finns, but they have to push onward. Although their quest for the gold medal is finished, they still have one game left in their schedule. One last chance for Selanne to add to his collection of Olympic medal.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Selanne is in a better position than I; however, I thought the Finns played rather well. Although at one point in the first period, the SOG were tied at 9, it appeared that Sweden controlled the 1st period. Finland came back in the 2nd and played pretty aggresively. Raask not being in net wasn’t a factor. I think the game was decided when Finland couldn’t convert in its power plays, especially a 5 on 3 for a little over a minute. Plus, when Lundqvist is on his mark, he’s pretty much unbeatable.

    Nevertheless, Finland’s game against Russia is one I’ll remember. Outstanding defense and stick handling in that game.

    For a bunch of old guys, they can hold their heads up high. Good Olympic showing for Finland. Can’t wish them good luck in the bronze, though. I’m rooting for the North Americans.

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