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Team Finland- Niemi versus Rask versus Rinne


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Finland is absolutely loaded in net for the upcoming Olympics. Choices include:


Tukka Rask playing Vezina type hockey for the Bruins


Antii Niemi the most underrated goaltender in the game


Pekka Rinne injures but due back before the Olympics elite as it gets


Niklas Backstrom long time veteran steady netminder for the Wild, sort of the Finnish version of Ryan Miller


Kari Lehtonen Stars back stop who plays very steady and is under the radar.


  With no disrespect Backstrom and Lehtonen are on the outside looking in unless Rinne cannot go then one of them will be the third goalie.


  Three horse race, Rinne, Rask and Niemi. Wow are they loaded in net.


 I love Rinne, I consider his style of play, aggressive, plays the puck uses his size challenges shooters to be one of my favorites. Love this guy. But with him being out for most of the first half I have to place him third.


 So that leaves Niemi versus Rask.


  I am in a minority that still considers Rask a bit overrated, he plays in high profile Boston with a loaded team and while I consider him a solid goalie I don't believe he is as good as a lot of folks think he is. I believe him to be a system goalie.


  Niemi on the other hand has won a Stanley Cup with Chicago, and was allowed to go to Chicago in the cap purge following the win. He is a flat out star, on the short list of greatest goalies in the game today, you could argue for him being the best in the game.


  So my choice is Niemi but wow what a solid bunch.


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@yave1964  I love these Olympic goalie threads you have been working on. It keeps things current and allows us to follow the flow of the season and properly cross compare who really deserves to go....great job Sir!!!


 Wow, Finland is LOADED in net huh? I wonder if Rinne gets the nod based on rep alone? He would have to play outstanding when he comes back, but I have a tendency to agree with you, I give Niemi the slight edge here. I purposely stayed far away from the injury prone Backstrom in this years fantasy hockey draft. He's had a fine career, but is certainly on the downslope as of right now.


 I never really thought about Rask as a system goalie, but the more I think about your point, the more it makes sense. I believe he's super quick and athletic, unlike some of the other products of good coaching/systems ie Smith etc...so it may be a bit of a slight labeling him that...but I must admit, he rarely sees second shots and Boston plays a great brand of defense under the long lost 4th Stooge Claude Julien (former Windsor Spitfire great btw). As good as Rask is, I don't see him getting the nod ahead of Rinne or Niemi.


 As good as Crawford has been (cup and all), I'm certain one of the MAJOR mistakes (and they don't happen often) by Stan Bowman was not respecting the skill set of the rookie Niemi. It's shocking cause Bowman rarely makes a mistake when evaluating talent, but this was a BIG miss.


 Of course, the best thing about Rinne is his freakish size combined with his outrageous foot speed. For a guy 6'5, there is no way he should be that fast at kicking out the pads....a pure freak of nature. Love his intangibles also, he anticipates as good as any goalie in the league. Pretty awesome glove hand also, not really a weakness in his game. A lot of goalies are now vulnerable to the wrap around with the new nets, but Pekka's awesome side to side speed combined with his lanky physical stature means he will not fall victim to the wrap around like most of his piers.


 Question, will the new nets be in play at the Olympic games? I know the space behind the nets is bigger in international rinks, that might give Pekka the advantage, if the new nets are being used, every inch counts as you know...and the combo of more space behind the nets and the new net size would give someone of Rinne's size and speed a natural advantage.


 I've always considered Lehtonen an average goalie, a tad overrated, but he is proving me wrong this year...he has been stellar. I doubt the makes the team, but you could make a strong argument that he deserves to be there ahead of Rask, if going by this years stats strictly.

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don't mean to steal your thunder if you plan on doing a Denmark goalie thread....but WOW, this young Ducks tender Fredrick Andersen is quickly becoming the story of the NHL season. Everyone keeps waiting for him to fall on his face, and the wins and EXTREMELY low GGA just keep coming. I've only seen highlights of the kid (wow is he fast!!). It's exciting enough that I plan on DVR'ing some Ducks games so I can get a look at the young rising star!  I did a bit of research on the other Denmark goalies, and I have honestly never heard of them, so Andersen should be the unquestioned Olympic starter for the Danes.


 I play Polaris for the first time this week, and I'm hoping the kid does not kill my tenders...lol. Pols also has Price, who is much improved this year AND of course, Bernier who I traded to Pols last week. Goalies I trade traditionally come back to KILL me, so I'm bracing for the worst....LOL!

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