Finns Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund make 5 Wild Olympians for Sochi
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The two Fins join Zach Parise, Ryan Suter (USA) and Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland) as members of the Wild selected to represent their country. The other player to watch was defenseman Jonas Brodin, but he apparently has been left off of Team Sweden. Brodin will be the top alternate if there is an injury for Team Sweden, according to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune.
Koivu's ankle surgery Monday and state four-week recovery period puts his availability in question for the Olympics. If he competes, it will be his third Olympic Games, according to a release from the Wild. He played in eight games in 2006 when Finland won the Silver Medal, and six games in 2010 when Finland earned Bronze.
"Representing your country is huge. We're very proud about that as a team and as individuals," Koivu said in the release. "I've had a chance to do that twice now, it's a lot different than any other tournament. All the traditions about it and everything around it is just a cool atmosphere."
For Granlund and Niederreiter, this will be their first Olympics.
Here's another excerpt from the release:
The Sochi Olympics open Feb. 6, with men's ice hockey beginning Feb. 12. The participating teams are based on the nations ranked 1-9 according to the 2012 IIHF Men's World Ranking plus three qualifiers. The four teams with the best records (the group winners and the second-place team with the best record) advance to the quarterfinals on Feb. 19. The Gold Medal Game is scheduled for 6 a.m. CT on Sunday, Feb. 23.
Group A: Russia (1), Slovakia (6), USA (7), Slovenia (18)
Group B: Finland (2), Canada (5), Norway (8), Austria (15)
Group C: Czech Republic (3), Sweden (4), Switzerland (9), Latvia (11)