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Pitkanen suspended for quarterfinals

Monday, 02.22.2010 / 11:50 AM / All-Access Vancouver

NHL.com

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Pitkanen suspended for quarterfinals
Finland will be without defenseman Joni Pitkanen when the quarterfinals get under way Wednesday.
Finland will be without one of its best defensemen when the quarterfinals get under way Wednesday.

Joni Pitkanen was suspended for one game after receiving a game misconduct penalty for hitting Sweden's Patric Hornqvist in the head late in the second period during Finland's 3-0 loss Sunday night. The Finns earned a bye into the quarterfinals by finishing with the fourth best record in the preliminary round.

"He's a key part on the power play and obviously on the breakouts he's such a good skater and mobile defenseman and sees the ice well," defenseman Sami Salo said. "Obviously it's a big loss but it opens up a spot for Janne Niskala."

Niskala has been acting as a seventh defenseman, but he will see more action when Finland faces the winner of the Czech Republic-Latvia game. The former Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner has been playing for Frolunda Gothenburg  in the Swedish Elite League since 2008.