Teemu Selanne

History for Teemu Selanne as Finland names Olympic hockey team

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Finland is undoubtedly the best nation never to win an Olympic men’s hockey gold medal. The drought will likely carry through Sochi.

The Finns could, however, win their sixth medal in the last eight Olympics. Goalie Tuukka Rask will have a big say in how far they progress. The Bruins star is top five in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.

Finland’s depth in the crease can afford the absence of former Vezina Trophy nominee Pekka Rinne, who hasn’t played since Oct. 22 with a hip infection, and the retirement of 2010 Olympic starter Miikka Kiprusoff.

The most notable player on the roster is forward Teemu Selanne, who is going to his record-tying sixth Olympics dating to 1992. He’s already pocketed two bronze medals (1998, 2010) and one silver (2006). He’ll match the retired Finn Raimo Helminen for most Olympics by a hockey player.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | Russia | Sweden | Finland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

The team is missing stalwart Saku Koivu, who reportedly withdrew his name from consideration within the last few days. Star forward Mikko Koivu may miss the Olympics with an ankle injury but was named to the team. Finland has up to Feb. 12 to replace him. 

Selanne is 43, but he’d have to play in the 2022 Olympics to be the oldest Olympic hockey player ever. That distinction belongs to 1928 Hungarian goalie Belo Ordody, who was 48 according to OlympStats.com.

Here’s the full Finland roster:

Goalies
Kari Lehtonen — Dallas Stars
Antti Niemi — San Jose Sharks
Tuukka Rask — Boston Bruins

Defensemen
Olli Maatta — Pittsburgh Penguins
Sami Salo — Tampa Bay Lightning
Kimmo Timonen — Philadelphia Flyers
Sami Vatanen — Anaheim Ducks
Lasse Kukkonen — Former NHL player
Sami Lepisto — Former NHL player
Ossi Vaananen — Former NHL player
Juuso Hietanen

Forwards
Aleksander Barkov — Florida Panthers
Valtteri Filppula — Tampa Bay Lightning
Mikael Granlund — Minnesota Wild
Jussi Jokinen — Pittsburgh Penguins
Olli Jokinen — Winnipeg Jets
Mikko Koivu — Minnesota Wild
Lauri Korpikoski — Phoenix Coyotes
Tuomu Ruutu — Carolina Hurricanes
Teemu Selanne — Anaheim Ducks
Leo Komarov — former Toronto Maple Leafs player
Petri Kontiola — former Chicago Blackhawks player
Antti Pihlstrom — former Nashville Predators player
Juhamatti Aaltonen
Jori Lehtera

U.S. goalie’s hockey mask includes actual gold (photos)

Yevgenia Medvedeva wins season opener in rout

AP
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Olympic figure skating favorite Yevgenia Medvedeva, imperfect by her standards, still won her first international competition of the season by a whopping 36.74 points on Saturday.

The Russian tallied 146.72 points in her free skate at Nepela Trophy in Slovakia — lower than her median score over her two-year winning streak — and 226.72 points overall. 

Video is here. Full scores are here.

Medvedeva had a wrong edge call on her triple Lutz, stepping out of the landing. 

Judges gave her a negative grade of execution for it, snapping a streak of more than 60 straight jumps with positive grades dating to December.

No matter, the 17-year-old still had the highest free skate by 23.23 points.

It was 13.72 points shy of her world record set at the last competition of the 2016-17 season.

She distanced Japanese Rika Hongo and countrywoman Yelena Radionova, the only woman to beat Medvedeva in senior international competition in November 2015.

Medvedeva entered the free skate with a 13.51-point lead in the low-level event. That was via recording the second-highest short program tally under a 13-year-old judging system on Thursday.

Her flawed free skate still earned more points than any of her rivals racked up last season. 

All of her jumps except a double Axel were in the second half of her program to earn bonus points.

However, another Russian posted a higher free skate score last week.

That’s 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova, who was .45 better at a low-level event in Italy. 

It’s not entirely fair to compare scores from different judging panels at these early season competitions, though.

The first of six Grand Prix series events is Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in four weeks, featuring Medvedeva and Radionova.

Medvedeva and Zagitova could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in December and should definitely both be at the Russian Championships later that month.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. 

North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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VIDEO: Nathan Chen makes more history at season opener

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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