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Ruutu, Pitkanen Named to Finland's Olympic Team

by Terrell Williams / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC—The Finnish Ice Hockey Association today announced its roster for Finland’s Men’s Ice Hockey Team for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu and defenseman Joni Pitkanen were each selected to represent their home country, which opens play on Feb. 17 against Belarus.

Ruutu, 26, will make his Olympic debut after missing the 2006 Winter Olympics due to injury. The Vantaa, Finland, native ranks tied for first among Hurricanes this season with 11 goals, and tied for second in points with 25 in his sixth NHL season. He is also first on the team, and 12th among NHL forwards, in hits (109) this season. Acquired by Carolina from Chicago on Feb. 26, 2008, in exchange for Andrew Ladd, Ruutu has totaled 41 goals and 49 assists (90 points) in 131 games since joining the Hurricanes, and has 89 goals and 109 assists (198 points) in 359 NHL games with Chicago and Carolina. Though he has yet to play in the Olympics, Ruutu (6’0”, 205 lbs.) has extensive international experience for Finland, representing his country at tournaments including the World Junior Championships (2001, 2002, 2003), the World Cup of Hockey (2004) and the IIHF World Championships (2006, 2007, 2008).

Pitkanen, 26, also missed the 2006 Olympics due to injury and is scheduled to make his Olympic debut in Vancouver. The Oulu, Finland, native ranks first among Hurricanes and fourth in the NHL this season in average ice time per game, averaging 26:46 per game in his sixth NHL season. He also ranks second among Hurricanes skaters in assists this season with 16. Pitkanen (6’3”, 210 lbs.) was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Edmonton Oilers on July 1, 2008, and has totaled 41 goals and 151 assists (192 points) in 370 career NHL games with Philadelphia, Edmonton and Carolina. Pitkanen also has experience for Finland in international play, helping his home country to back-to-back bronze medals at the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships, and earning the IIHF Directorate Award as the tournament’s top defenseman in 2003.

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