Finnish Hockey announced today the 23-man roster for the 2006 Men's Olympic Team that will compete in Turin, Italy, beginning on February 15. Three of the players named to the team are Dallas Stars forwards Jere Lehtinen, Niko Kapanen and Antti Miettinen.
Lehtinen, 32, will be appearing in his fourth Olympic Games, having gone to the Winter Olympics with Finland in 1994, 1998 and 2002. He tallied three goals in eight games as Finland won the bronze medal in 1994, had six points (4-2-6) in six games when Finland again took home the bronze in 1998 and recorded three points (1-2-3) in four games in 2002.
"It is always a tremendous honor to represent your country," said Lehtinen. "A lot of the players on this team played together in 2002 in Salt Lake. I'm looking forward to the Olympics."
The Espoo, Finland native has registered 19 goals and nine assists for 28 points with seven power play goals and +8 rating this season with the Stars. Lehtinen's 19 goals rank tied for eighth in the league and his five game-winners tie for second in the NHL. Over his career, he has posted 176 goals and 193 assists for 369 points in 600 career NHL games. The 6-0, 192-pound right wing has won three Selke Trophies over his career, tying Guy Carbonneau for the second most Selke awards in league history (Bob Gainey has four).
"(Being named to four Olympic teams) is just an unbelievable accomplishment," said Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett. "Jere's dedication to the game is incredible. I laugh a little bit because here's a bunch of guys waiting to see if their name is called for their country and Lehts knew last July that he was a lock for his team. That just goes to show you how good of a player he really is."
Kapanen, 27, will be making his first Olympics appearance. He did play in six games with Finland during the 2004 World Cup, notching one goal and two assists for three points as Finland captured the silver medal. The Hameenlinna, Finland native has more than doubled his point total in 32 games this season (3-13-16) from what he had in 67 games in 2003-04 (1-5-6). In 190 career NHL outings, he has collected nine goals and 48 assists for 57 points.
Miettinen, 25, will also be making his first appearance at the Olympic Games. The Hameenlinna, Finland native has played in 31 games with the Stars this season, registering four goals and 11 assists for 15 points with a +4 rating. Among rookie league leaders, he ranks tied for 10th in power play goals (2), tied for 11th in assists and tied for 13th in plus/minus (+4).
Dallas now has six players named to three separate Olympic teams - U.S.A. (Mike Modano and Bill Guerin), Canada (Marty Turco) and Finland (Jere Lehtinen, Niko Kapanen, Antti Miettinen).