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Finland coach seeing early promise from his squad

Monday, 08.05.2013 / 11:45 AM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / World Junior Evaluation Camp blog

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World Junior Evaluation Camp blog
Finland coach seeing early promise from his squad

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With five games in seven days, Finland coach Karri Kivi is approaching this week's National Junior Evaluation Camp like a mini-tournament.

"It's like a tournament," Kivi told NHL.com. "I'd like to see how they handle it."

They started off nicely Sunday with a 6-5 overtime win against USA Blue.

Kivi, who coached Assat to the SM-liiga championship last season, said he didn't follow Finland at the 2013 World Junior Championship, when the team finished a disappointing seventh. Because of that, he said what happened in the past is done and it's time to move on.

"We tried to make a new team," he said. "Doesn't matter what happened last year."

What's happened this year has been a solid start, one that he hopes will continue Monday against USA White.

"So far I've liked the whole team," Kivi said. "The atmosphere is special and they really want to go on. It really helps me, because if the attitude isn't at the best level you can't create anything."

One of the things he created so far has been an outstanding top line. The trio of Artturi Lehkonen, Teuvo Teravainen and Kasper Kapanen combined for four of Finland's six goals, including a hat trick by Lehkonen. And Teravainen had a goal and three assists, including the primary assist on Ville Pokka's overtime goal.

"It rarely happens in the international game that one line scores four goals, and important goals, and at the right time," Kivi said. "Big start for those guys."

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season