Finland suffered its third significant player loss on Saturday, as the team announced prized Florida rookie Aleksander Barkov would miss the remainder of the Olympic tournament with a lower-body injury.
Barkov, 18, suffered what appeared to be a knee injury during Friday’s 6-1 win over Norway, leaving during the third period while finishing with 15:03 TOI. He was 9-of-11 in the faceoff circle against the Norwegians and, in a tournament-opening 8-4 win over Austria, went 11-of-13 and finished with an assist.
It’s worth bringing up his faceoff and assist totals because, prior to the games, Finland lost two of its best centers to injury — Valtteri Filppula and Mikko Koivu. Both suffered ankle injuries prior to the Games, and their absences gave Barkov the opportunity to play on a line with his childhood idol, Teemu Selanne.
Barkov, Selanne and Mikael Granlund had served as Finland’s de facto No. 1 line thus far.
It’ll be interesting to see what the long-term ramifications of this injury are. Barkov’s had a very solid freshman campaign for the Panthers, sitting fifth on the team in points (24) while averaging over 17 minutes per game. But he’d already missed four games this year with a knee injury — it’s unclear if that’s related to his current issue — and it sounds as though the Florida organization isn’t happy about this latest development:
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) February 15, 2014