Blackhawks News

Olympic Bronze Medal Preview: USA versus Finland

By Sean Fitzgerald

Team USA motto going into this Olympics was the Gold Medal or Bust, well Team USA might have busted. Team USA was defeated 1-0 by Team Canada 1-0 in the Semifinals.  Team USA was boasting the best offense in the Olympic tournament until they met Canada.  Team USA must now regroup and play Finland in the Bronze Medal game.  Team USA still boasts Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, and T.J. Oshie. Jonathan Quick had one of his best games in the tournament in the loss to Canada.  Team USA Coach Dan Blysma had this to say about Bronze medal game, “We want to come home with Bronze Medal. After we the loss behind us we’ll be back to do that”.  Team USA’s Patrick Kane has yet to breakout in this tournament maybe the Bronze medal game will be that game.

Finland has other ideas for Team USA’s new mission. Finland was coming into this tournament with low expectations. Finland had an 11/1 odds of winning the gold medal coming into this Olympics. Finland will not get a chance to play for the gold but they will get their chance to play for the Bronze. Finland played very well against their bitter rival Sweden in the semifinals. Finland played well despite not having their best player.

Their starting goalie Tuukka Rask might be back against Team USA. Rask sat out their semifinal game against Sweden due to Illness. Finnish captain Teemu Selanne had three Olympic medals from previous tournaments.  “Three Medals from the Olympics, it would be nice to have four”.  If Rask is not ready to go Kari Lehtonen should get the nod in net.  In addition to Selanne, Olli Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu help boast a solid Finnish team.  Finland does not have any current Blackhawks on their roster but does feature former Blackhawks Sami Lepisto. Lepisto played for the Blackhawks in 2011-12. He appeared in 26 games and that was his last season in the NHL.

The Finnish squad has a mixture of veterans and younger players; while Team USA has a team of up and coming stars. It will be an interesting matchup. Finland will take on USA at 10 am et on Saturday morning on NBCSN.

The winners of the Bronze Medal game will remain in Sochi until after the Sweden Versus Canada game to receive their medals. The losing team’s NHL players will return to their respective NHL teams after the game immediately.