If the Wild have a nation to claim as their own, it's probably Finland.
From stars like Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom, to scrubs like Antti Miettinen, to messianic rock stars like Mikael Granlund, the Wild have had their fair share of Finnish players on their roster, with their rosters historically being in line with the two-way Finnish style of play.
So it should come as no surprise when you see that the Minnesota Wild have three players invited to the evaluation camp of Finland. This is more than the two United States representatives the Wild have, as well as the one that they have for Sweden and Switzerland.
Whole lotta Finns.
Today, we're going to start taking a look at the international track record of each of the Wild's potential Olympians, starting with the Team Finland represenatives.
Niklas Backstrom- Goalie
Nicklas Backstrom's one shot internationally to be "The Guy" came in the 2008 World Championship in Quebec. It may help him now, as he did pretty well. He finished the tournament with six wins and two losses, beating the Americans twice, and shutting out Team Sweden for the Bronze Medal Game. His only losses came to Teams Canada and Russia. Overall, when the tournament ended, he had a 2.11 GAA and a .922 SV%.
Bax was on the Olympic roster in 2006, but never played a minute during the tournament, where Finland finished with the Silver medal. It would be a similar story in Vancouver, where Niklas Backstrom served as the primary backup to Miikka Kiprusoff. However, in his limited action, Backstrom shone. He made 24 saves in a shutout of Germany. Yes, it was Germany, but the guy stopped everything sent his way. Then in the semi-finals, Kiprusoff got lit up by the Americans early, and Backstrom went in, stopping 16 of 18 shots. Finland went on to win the Bronze.
Outlook for Sochi
The competition for goalkeeper in Team Finland will be very tough, indeed. As an article in the Wilderness Walk said this morning, Backstrom has to compete with elite goaltenders like Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask, successful starters like Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, as well as the SM-Liiga's best goalie last year, Antti Raanta. Right away, it's hard to see Rinne and Rask not representing Finland in goal, so unless injuries occur, Backstrom is competing for the third goaltending spot on the roster. And that means, unless something goes wrong, there's not going to be a lot of ice time for Bax.