December 26, 2012
2:30 AM Eastern
Ufa Sports Palace, Ufa, Russia
Absent a formal gave preview, I’m including with the team rosters the NHL.com preview written for each team.
Coach: Leonids Tamblijevs
|#||Player Name||Pos.||NHL Rights|
|23||Toms Andersons||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|8||Edmunds Augstkalns||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|21||Teodors Blugers||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|10||Rihards Bukarts||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|17||Nikolajs Jelisejevs||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|28||Nikita Jevpalovs||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|13||Edgars Kulda||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|26||Edgars Kurmis||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|12||Arturs Kuzmenkovs||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|18||Kriss Lipsbergs||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|11||Roberts Lipsbergs||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|30||Elvis Merzlikins||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|1||Vadims Miscuks||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|2||Kristaps Nimanis||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|16||Karlis Ozolins||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|25||Ivars Pennenovs||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|29||Lauris Rancevs||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|5||Rinalds Rosinskis||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|19||Arturs Sevcenko||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|4||Edgars Siksna||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|15||Andris Siksnis||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|14||Patriks Skuratovs||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|7||Pauls Zvirbulis||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
Last year: Latvia was outscored 31-8 while going winless in the preliminary round. Its only win came in overtime in its final game against Denmark to finish ninth.
2013 NHL Draft watch: Left wing Roberts Lipsbergs, who plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds, leads all Western Hockey League first-year players with 17 goals and 32 points in 34 games. Right wing Nikita Jevpalovs has 15 points and a plus-12 rating in 33 games for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Schedule: Dec. 26, Finland, 2:30 a.m. ET; Dec. 27, Switzerland, 7 a.m. ET; Dec. 29, Sweden, 7 a.m. ET; Dec. 30, Czech Republic, 7 a.m. ET.
Outlook: Buffalo Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons, the 14th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, will be Latvia's best player. However, even with Girgensons, Lipsbergs and Jevpalovs (who scored the OT goal against Denmark), it's hard to envision Latvia making it out of preliminary-round play. The goal should be more than one win in the relegation round.
And the funny things is: Girgensons didn't even make the team.
Coach: Harri Rindell
|#||Player Name||Pos.||NHL Rights|
|15||Miro Aaltonen||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|10||Joel Armia||Forward||Buffalo Sabres|
|8||Henri Auvinen||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|16||Aleksander Barkov||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|11||Markus Granlund||Forward||Calgary Flames|
|13||Markus Hannikainen||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|19||Ville Jarvelainen||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|31||Janne Juvonen||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|30||Joonas Korpisalo||Goalie||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|24||Matti Lamberg||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|1||Eetu Laurikainen||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|28||Artturi Lehkonen||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|26||Robert Leino||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|4||Petteri Lindbohm||Defense||St. Louis Blues|
|2||Olli Maatta||Defense||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|21||Thomas Nykopp||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|12||Ville Pokka||Defense||New York Islanders|
|3||Juuso Riikola||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|5||Rasmus Ristolainen||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|23||Saku Salminen||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|22||Miikka Salomaki||Forward||Nashville Predators|
|20||Teuvo Tervainen||Forward||Chicago Blackhawks|
|27||Juuso Vainio||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
Last year: After losing to Canada in its tournament opener, Finland didn't lose again until a 3-2 setback to Sweden in the semifinals. Finland finished fourth after losing 4-0 to Canada in the bronze-medal game.
2013 NHL Draft watch: Alexander Barkov is a likely top-five pick in June. Central Scouting's top-ranked Finnish skater is dominating SM-liiga, the top Finnish professional league, with 14 goals and 28 points in 32 games. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is considered a top-end all-round defenseman who can dominate at both ends of the rink.
Schedule: Dec. 26, Latvia, 2:30 a.m. ET; Dec. 28, Czech Republic, 2:30 a.m. ET; Dec. 30, Switzerland, 2:30 a.m. ET; Dec. 31, Sweden, 7 a.m. ET.
Outlook: Finland could be the surprise team of the tournament, and its matchup with Sweden on New Year's Eve likely will decide the winner of Group A and which team gets a bye into the semifinals. Finland has talent and depth at all positions and will be well-coached. A medal is a serious possibility.