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Friday, December 14, 2001

Finns answer call

Senators' Hurme, Salo make plans for Olympics

By BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun
 Jani Hurme and Sami Salo had to take a trip on the internet to find out their travel plans for February.

 Fortunately for both players, they include a stop in Salt Lake City.

 As expected, the Senators goaltender and defenceman were among the 23 players named to the Finnish Olympic team at a press conference yesterday in Helsinki.

 "It's great news for us to be going to the Olympics," said Hurme. "I think we've been on about 10 teams together and it's something that is going to be fun."

 Both have competed for Finland at world championships, but neither has played in an event of the magnitude of the Salt Lake City Winter Games.

 Since the press conference was held at 5 a.m. EST, Hurme and Salo checked the website of their favourite Finnish newspapers when they woke yesterday to learn of their selections.

 "We had been told that they weren't going to call anybody because of the timing of the announcement (in North America),'' said Salo. '`I'm sure they'll get a hold of us in the next couple of days to talk about it.

 "Of course, playing for the Senators is the most important thing to me, but to get a chance to play in the Olympics is pretty exciting as well. You look at all the athletes who have competed at the Games and that's something that you want to be a part of. I remember how exciting it was in Finland when they won a silver in Calgary in 1988."

 Hurme could get a chance to be a No. 1 goalie. Minor-leaguer netminders Pasi Nurminen of the Atlanta Thrashers and Jussi Markkanen of the Edmonton Oilers were also selected, but neither player has NHL experience.

 "The concentration for me is on what's happening here because that's the most important thing," said Hurme. "But I've definitely got a chance to play there and I'm looking forward to it. We've got a good team, but there's going to be six or seven good teams."

 The Czechs added nine players to their Olympic roster, but neither Radek Bonk or Martin Havlat was on it. However, Bonk may already be going to Salt Lake City as he was named as an alternate last spring.

2002 Games Columnists