|Five Senators players took part in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics but only Jarkko Ruutu of Finland brought home a medal (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).
This time, at least, Jarkko Ruutu has one up on the rest of his Ottawa Senators teammates.
The feisty Finnish forward was the only Senators player to cart home some hardware from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Five Ottawa players tried but it was Ruutu and Finland that celebrated a bronze medal after rallying past Slovakia 5-3 on Saturday night at Canada Hockey Place.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
(Sweden), defenceman Anton Volchenkov (Russia), forward Milan Michalek
and blueliner Filip Kuba
(Czech Republic) were all on the sidelines by then.
"It would have been real disappointing to finish fourth," admitted Ruutu, whose team was whipped by the United States 6-1 in the semifinals before rebounding against the Slovaks. "It's probably the worst place you can finish. But if you really look at the final result ... we're always underdogs and there's a couple of pretty good countries (that finished) behind us. I think it's a good accomplishment, although we wanted to win the gold."
Slovakia held a 3-1 lead through two periods of the bronze-medal game before the Finns stormed back in the third. Ruutu assisted on the tying goal by Olli Jokinen of the New York Rangers, who added the winner on a power play two minutes later.
Ruutu believed it was a fitting final result for Finland, the only country to win a men's hockey medal at every Winter Olympics since 1988.
""t would have been real disappointing to finish fourth. It's probably the worst place you can finish. But if you really look at the final result ... we're always underdogs and there's a couple of pretty good countries (that finished) behind us. I think it's a good accomplishment, although we wanted to win the gold." - Jarkko Ruutu
"We wanted to win gold but we didn't play well enough for it," he said. "In the end, we wanted to bring something home and I think bronze is what we deserved. It was a pretty exciting game. We didn't feel great after two periods but we answered really well in the third."
For Ruutu, it's a second straight Olympics in which he didn't come home empty-needed. Finland was the silver medallist four years ago in Turin, Italy, falling to arch-rival Sweden 3-2 in the final.
"That was one of the top ones," Ruutu said when asked where the bronze in Vancouver ranks among his career memories. "In Torino, we had a great tournament and finished second (with) a disappointing loss in the final. This one, we won a bronze.
"But the Olympics are always special ... it's good to bring something home."