SUN Hockey Pool

Finnish Flames keep eyes on junior warmup

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Tonight's junior clash between Canada and Finland at the Saddledome may be an exhibition game in preparation for the world junior tournament, but it has caught the attention of the pair of Finns on the Calgary Flames.

"The biggest game of the year, in December, in Calgary," said centre Olli Jokinen.

"I'm gonna paint my face."

He's probably joking, but the world junior tournament is special to Jokinen. He was named top forward and tied for the scoring lead when he helped lead his team to the 1998 championship in Finland.

"Going back 10 years ago, 11 years, those are good memories," he said. "I'll be rooting for them (tonight)."

He won't be alone.

Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who played for his country during the 1995 and 1996 tournaments, will be following how the youngsters from his homeland fare.

"It'll be interesting to see how good Team Finland is. I saw Canada beat Sweden pretty bad, so it'll be interesting," Kiprusoff said. "It'll probably be a good crowd. It'll be a great experience for the young Finns to play in a packed 'Dome."

Kiprusoff had a blast when he played at the Saddledome during the 1995 tournament.

Kiprusoff was stellar during a 3-3 tie with Sweden which clinched the gold for Canada in what was a round-robin tournament at the time.

"They gave us a tour of the room and I saw the goalie had three gloves and two sets of pads, so I thought, 'That's cool.' It's a big thing for those young guys," he said.

PARDY DOESN'T PRACTICE

Defenceman Adam Pardy wasn't on the ice when the Flames practised yesterday at the Saddledome.

Pardy missed three straight games due to sprained wrist, but skated in the last two outings.

In Saturday's game against Nashville, he registered 15 minutes and 13 seconds of ice time, which is right around his average per game.


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