Two centers and nine wingers currently comprise the contingent of forwards with NHL ties that skated in Finland's SM-Liiga this past season. The mix of forwards skating in Finland is a wide range offers a wide range of skill sets – with a few players that were high scorers in the junior level and others who are solid two-way players.
For the second time in the past three months, Canada finds itself taking part in the bronze medal game at a World Junior Championship, this time the Under-18 edition. Their opponents in this game, Finland, defeated Canada earlier in the tournament, so Canada may have an edge in terms of motivation.
The 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament is upon us and, as in recent years, has the international scouting community licking its chops. This year's edition once again features a number of young men representing their country on the international scene who will hear their names called at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. For many of them, this tournament will be the pinnacle of all their work this season and will leave a lasting impression – whether good or bad – in the minds and notebooks of what should be well over 120 NHL scouts in attendance. For all of them, this event will be an opportunity to go out and give it everything they've got for their native country, a motivation that often has no rival in the minds and hearts of 16-18 year olds. But which country will benefit most from that attitude? What teams can least afford to take a night off? Which players should be pushing the hardest for a victory in the tournament's final game? Here's what you can expect from the frontrunners for a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament.
For Teemu Pulkkinen and his Finnish teammates, the 2012 World Junior Championship ended as a disappointment. The team came into the tournament feeling like it could come away with a medal, but one obstacle stood in the way of that accomplishment – Canada. The Finns were whipped by the Canadian squad in their first game, then lost 4-0 in the bronze medal to that same team.
Pulkkinen talked about missing out on the bronze medal following the loss to Canada.
Finnish alternate captains Jani Hakanpaa and Joonas Donskoi nearly achieved their goal of competing for the gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship. But the duo and their Finnish teammates fell short of that goal, losing a semi-final shootout thriller to rival Finland, 3-2.
The two Finnish players talked about the disappointing loss to Sweden following the game.