Finland defenseman Olli Maatta has been impressing fans in Pittsburgh all season with his steady play, but the NHL rookie hasn’t had a chance to do that for his veteran countrymen until the Olympics.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears from Maatta’s Finland teammates to find out the impression he’s leaving is a very good one as Sami Salo will attest to.
“There’s poise, there’s talent and … I don’t see the ceiling. I really don’t. He’s special,” Salo said. “And you know, it’s good for Finnish hockey. It’s good for all of us. We’ve been waiting for someone like him to arrive for a while.”
The last time words like that were uttered it was for guys like Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh and Alex Ovechkin in Washington. Being that kind of player for your country, though, is something else.
The Finns have always had either great forwards, goaltending, or both but defensemen have been harder to come by. Defense was believed to be a weakness for Finland in the Olympics, but with Maatta stepping in, it’s not as bad off as it once was.