Silver lining for Finland

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Jussi Markkanen was up bright and early to watch his countrymen compete for gold at the Turin Olympics.

Markkanen, a native of Imatra, Finland, watched as Finland fell 3-2 to Sweden in yesterday's gold-medal game. The puck dropped at 6:30 a.m. local time.

"Yeah, I was up early," Markkanen said. "It was a really good hockey game. Sweden was very strong, especially early. Finland was hanging in there and had a couple of good chances to tie the game in the end, but it didn't happen this time."

Finland had to settle for the silver medal for the second time in its Olympic history. The Finns also claimed silver in 1988 in Calgary. They have never won gold.

"It's a big thing. It maybe the biggest thing our hockey has got, but whenever you don't win ... ," said Markkanen. "Definitely it's good to win a silver medal, but at the same time they were so close to do something unbelievable, so at the same time they probably feel a little bit sad right now. But when time goes on, they'll probably feel really good about themselves."

For Sweden, it's the second time they've won the gold medal. The first came in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, beating Canada in the final.

"I'm glad for the guys. It's good for them to win the gold medal," said Oilers Swedish-born defenceman Dick Tarnstrom. "It's good for Swedish hockey, too. It's huge, we all grew up watching Olympic hockey. It's probably one of the biggest things you can win."


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