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Another Fine Finn

by Staff Writer / Dallas Stars

September 17, 2003

By J. Douglas Foster

One would have been hard pressed to find anyone at Dobson Ice Arena Wednesday who wasn't overly impressed with young left wing Antti Miettinen.

Much like the Stars' scouting department has been for quite some time.

Miettinen, the Finnish Elite League Player of the Year last season with 50 points in 53 games while playing for HPK Hameenlinna, was equally impressive during Wednesday's scrimmage while paired with fellow countryman Niko Kapanen and all-star right wing Bill Guerin.

That line just happened to be on the ice for all five goals -- two by Miettinen and three by Guerin -- as their squad skated to a 5-0 decision in the first of two 30-minute scrimmage sessions.

And everyone noticed.

"They were pretty good," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Right from the first shift."

First, Miettinen scored off an assist from Guerin, and Miettinen returned the favor by setting up Guerin to make it 2-0. Guerin scored again off a Don Sweeney assist to make it 3-0, and during the next shift Miettinen scored off a Kapanen assist to make it 4-0.

Guerin closed the scoring off a Kapanen assist, ripping one in from a sharp angle before taking time to praise his young Finnish linemates.

"They were pretty darn good," Guerin said. "They are both really creative with the puck. They just keep moving all the time."

So, did Miettinen's performance help earn him a spot on the Stars' 23-man roster?

"He's going to help himself out if he keeps playing like that," Guerin said. "He's impressed a lot of people. And not just people upstairs, but the guys in the locker room too. He's a good kid and he's been working real hard."

In fact, Miettinen has had a good camp since the first day.

But his big day during the scrimmage was the best yet.

"He's been good every day," Tippett said. "But he certainly showed the poise and skills to compete at this level (Wednesday)."

Miettinen said he wasn't coming to camp thinking whether he would or would not make the Dallas squad.

He just wanted to compete, figuring the chips would fall for him if he played well enough.

"I'm just focusing on doing my best," he said. "I'm not thinking too much about making the team."

If he keeps playing like he did Thursday, he won't have to think about making it.

He just will.

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