Joonas Kemppainen

Finns announce preliminary roster for World Cup led by Rask, Koivu


Finland joined Russia in announcing its 16-man initial roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday, a roster heavily influenced by the team that captured bronze at the ’14 Olympics in Sochi.

Boston goalie Tuukka Rask and Wild captain Mikko Koivu headline the list, along with a pair of participants at this year’s All-Star Game in Nashville — Preds goalie Pekka Rinne, and Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov.

The roster, in full:

G Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

D Esa Lindell, Texas Stars (AHL) – Dallas Stars hold NHL rights
D Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins
D Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres
D Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks

F Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
F Joonas Donskoi, San Jose Sharks
F Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild
F Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers
F Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
F Leo Komarov, Toronto Maple Leafs
F Lauri Korpikoski, Edmonton Oilers
F Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues
F Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks

Among the notable “snubs” for Finland? Minnesota’s Erik Haula, who sits 10th among all Finnish forwards this year with 23 points, was left off. So too was Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen, Vancouver’s Markus Granlund (Mikael’s brother), Winnipeg’s Joel Armia, Boston’s Joonas Kemppainen and Nashville’s Miikka Salomaki.

On defense, it’s worth pointing out that one Dallas prospect, Lindell, made it over one of the club’s recently departed — Jyrki Jokipakka, who was traded to Calgary on Monday in the Kris Russell deal.

It’s also worth noting two of the country’s brightest young prospects failed to make it: Kasperi Kapanen, who recently made his NHL debut with Toronto, and Mikko Rantanen, the promising Colorado forward taken 10th overall in ’15.

Rantanen currently sits fifth in the AHL in scoring, with 48 points through 39 games.

Finally, in goal, it’ll be interesting to see who claims the No. 3 spot behind Rask and Rinne. Right now, the leading candidates would have to be Dallas’ Antti Niemi (or, Kari Lehtonen), Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo or the Rangers’ Antti Raanta.

Wild Wild East: Datsyuk and the Wings outlast Bruins in a crazy 11-goal game


Some hockey fans like to complain about scoring being down, but someone forgot to tell the Red Wings and Bruins.

The two teams combined for 11 goals, including nine in the first two periods, in Detroit’s 6-5 win over Boston.

The Wings were led by their usual suspects, as Pavel Datsyuk (two goals, one assist) and Henrik Zetterberg (two goals, one assist) led the charge.

The Bruins appeared to be in control of the game early on.

Here’s your scoring breakdown:

Brad Marchand opened the scoring just eight seconds into the game (that’s a Bruins franchise record).

They jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the first frame before the Wings started chipping away at the deficit.

Datsyuk cut the lead to 3-2 before the end of the first.

Just over three minutes after Darren Helm tied the game at three in the second period, Datsyuk completed the comeback.

Helm’s second goal of the period gave Detroit a 5-3 lead.

Just when you thought the Bruins were dead in the water, they woke up.

Boston got goals from two unlikely sources (Dennis Seidenberg, Joonas Kemppainen) to draw even in the third period.

But unlike the Bruins, the Wings wouldn’t let the Boston complete the comeback.

Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Danny DeKeyser combined forces to put the game away:

It’s a huge win for the Red Wings, who now move one point ahead of the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division.


Krejci activated, expected back tonight versus Vancouver


The Boston Bruins have activated center David Krejci ahead of tonight’s home game versus Vancouver. In a corresponding move, the B’s have assigned forward Frank Vatrano to AHL Providence.

Krejci hasn’t played since Dec. 27 when he suffered an upper-body injury against Ottawa. The B’s went 5-4-1 in his absence. They enter tonight’s contest having won three in a row.

Though officially considered a game-time decision, Krejci is expected to center a second line of Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson, with Ryan Spooner dropping down to play between Joonas Kemppainen and Jimmy Hayes.

Spooner, who in the past has drawn the ire of Claude Julien, received some high praise today from his coach.

“Ryan has taken some huge strides here in this time where David Krejci’s been out,” said Julien. “You hope it makes our team better and that’s what we talked about, taking advantage of the opportunity and make yourself a better player.”

The Canucks, meanwhile, will be icing an even younger lineup than the young one they iced Tuesday at the Rangers. With Jake Virtanen, 19, and Mike Zalewski, 23, coming in to replace Brandon Prust and Adam Cracknell, Vancouver will have seven forwards under the age of 25.

Sweeney explains Pastrnak assignment to AHL


David Pastrnak was assigned to AHL Providence because the Boston Bruins needed his roster spot for tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The assignment didn’t mean that Pastrnak’s first game after returning from the World Juniors will definitely be in the AHL. Providence doesn’t play until Friday. Boston plays that same night in New Jersey.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney explained this morning that Pastrnak “arrived yesterday afternoon, he’ll skate today and we’ll re-evaluate.” Tonight’s game against the Caps could see the return of forward Joonas Kemppainen, which would put the B’s at the 23-man roster limit.

“Really, it’€™s a matter of we play tonight, Joonas in all likelihood will come off IR, so our roster is what it is at this point in time,” Sweeney said, per WEEI. “We’€™ll make a decision going forward, and David will be a part of that process.”

The reason all this is such a big deal? It’s because the Bruins are suddenly struggling. They’ve lost four of their last five in regulation, including an extremely disappointing performance at home in the Winter Classic.

On top of that, two of their top forwards — the injured David Krejci and the suspended Brad Marchand — are currently unavailable. That could mean Ryan Spooner centering the second line, with Landon Ferraro on his wing, tonight against the Caps.

Pastrnak, 19, has only played 10 games for the B’s this season due to a foot injury. He has two goals and two assists.

Related: Pastrnak’s weak clearance draws Julien’s ire

Bruins assign Pastrnak to AHL


David Pastrnak has been assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins after representing the Czech Republic in the World Juniors.

Pastrnak had a goal and three assists in four games for the Czechs. The 19-year-old forward did suffer a finger injury in the tournament, but it was not believed to be a “serious thing.”

Many expected Pastrnak to come back from Finland and immediately suit up for the NHL’s Bruins. In fact, that was the original plan. Boston is currently without forwards David Krejci (injured) and Brad Marchand (suspended).

But perhaps Pastrnak is not completely healthy. Or, perhaps the club wants him to play some games in the minors first.

Boston hosts the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Providence doesn’t play until Friday versus Bridgeport.

Related: Joonas Kemppainen a “possibility” versus Caps