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Olympic Olli

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
CALGARY, AB -- Olli Jokinen wants to make one thing clear as the Olympic Games draw closer: do not underestimate the Finnish squad.

How good is Team Finland?

"Well, usually we're ranked by 8th, 10th place but somehow we always come home with the medal," Jokinen grinned.

Team Finland has been a dark horse over the past two decades. They've picked four medals in the last six Winter Olympics and were the silver medalists in Torino in 2006.

"It was nice. We were the best team in the first seven games and the second best team after eight games so it was disappointing (to lose)." Jokinen said. "We're probably the only people, who were on that team, who remembers we were second place. If you go around Calgary or around anywhere here and ask who was in second in the last Olympics nobody's going to remember that so that's disappointing. It was a great run."

Unlike Team Canada, the team selection process for Finland is low key. Jokinen has known he's been on the roster for a few weeks but has waited to speak about until the country unveiled it's lineup publicly.

"For our country, we knew our selections a few weeks ago. I already turned the page. You've got to think about that early in the year, if you're going to be on the team or not, but the bottom line is right now. We've got to win hockey games over here and do whatever we can to climb up in the standings. The Olympics are far away."

As for the unveiling process, there was no public announcement where the fans and the players found out on the same day. The coaching staff simply let each player know individually.

"I got the phone call from the coach, I'm on the team," he shrugged. "I didn't ask who else was on the team. They told us whose going to play with who. That's about it."

He wouldn't speak about who the Finnish coaching staff has him playing with.

"I know but I don't think it's your guys job to know yet," he laughed. "You guys have to wait another two months. It always happens though. Some guys like to leak information to the media so you know. But that's not going to come out of my mouth."

Jokinen has played in the past two Olympics but is looking forward to Vancouver as it will most likely be the last time he and fellow countrymen will play together.

"For a lot of our players these Olympics are going to be our last time together. We pretty much have had the same team since 2002. We had a good run in the 2004 World Cup and a good run in 2006 in the Olympics and this is probably going to be our last journey together. We want to win, like every other country."

He's also looking forward to having Miikka Kiprusoff as his netminder.

"I think he's the best goalie in the league right now. He's giving us the chance to win every night over here. Going into the Olympics, once you get into the quarterfinals, it's a race. It's one game so anything can happen. Our country feels very confident and comfortable."
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