Share This Page

Maatta, Jokinen thrilled by Finns' bronze

| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 12:22 p.m.
Finland's Jussi Jokinen (36) congratulates Olli Maatta (3) on his goal against the United States during the third period of the men's bronze-medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
U.S. defenseman Brooks Orpik reacts after a goal by Finland during the third period of the men's bronze-medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Getty Images
Finland's Jussi Jokinen of the Penguins celebrates his goal in the second period against the United States during the bronze-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
Finland defenseman Olli Maatta of the Penguins scores past U.S. goaltender Jonathan Quick during the third period of the men's bronze-medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
U.S. defenseman Brooks Orpik (left) and Finland forward Leo Komarov vie for the puck during the first period of their bronze-medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
REUTERS
Team USA's goalie Jonathan Quick lies on the ice after giving up a goal to Finland's Jussi Jokinen (not seen) during the first period during the bronze-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
Getty Images
Finland defenseman Olli Maatta handles the puck in the second period against the United States during the bronze-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
AFP/Getty Images
Finland's Olli Maatta (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's fifth goal during the bronze medal game against the United States on Saturday. Finland won, 5-0.

SOCHI, Russia — Olli Maatta was the first of the Finns to have Olympic bronze draped around his neck Saturday, and he soaked in the moment. Beamed the broadest of smiles. Raised the accompanying flowers to the appreciative Russian crowd.

And how did that feel?

“It's pretty heavy,” Maatta said after he and Penguins teammate Jussi Jokinen scored to help Finland beat the United States, 5-0, at Bolshoy Ice Dome. “No, it's really heavy.”

The official listed weight of Sochi medals is 1.16 pounds, which does make for a bulky accessory. But it's safe to say he would prefer that to the alternative.

After Friday's semifinal loss to Sweden, this 19-year-old rookie of the Penguins and the Olympics appeared crestfallen. Especially because it was his turnover that gave the Swedes their start.

This was different.

“Turnovers happen. I don't feel like I played a bad game against Sweden,” Maatta said. “What happened happened. I got over it.

“This feels great right now.”

“I'm so happy to have this,” Jokinen said, reaching down for his medal.

Teemu Selanne and Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart early in the third period to send the Finns on their way.

American players cited that as a deflating point, and Jokinen wouldn't argue that.

“I think it's always tough on a team when you score quick goals like that,” Jokinen said. “Maybe it was.”

Finland's medal was its fifth in men's hockey in the past six Olympics, but it surely will be remembered more in that country for being Selanne's last. Selanne, the brilliant 43-year-old forward who has said he'll retire after this NHL season with the Anaheim Ducks, scored two goals to finish fourth on the Games' all-time list in that category and first with 43 points.

“It was something special,” Selanne said of the medal. “I'm so proud.”

Jokinen called Selanne “my idol” and added, “He's bigger than you can imagine back home, a great player and great person.”

Said Maatta: “For me, Teemu Selanne was someone I had only seen on TV. To come here, to be a teammate with him in his last Games, to see what he's like … it's just unbelievable.”

Dejan Kovacevic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dkovacevic@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.