|Finland's head coach Raimo Summanen, left, and Saku Koivu keep an eye on the action during practice in Toronto Sunday September 12, 2004. Canada faces Finland in the World Cup of Hockey final Tuesday Sept. 14th.(CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz)
IF THE past few days have been a dream for Raimo Summanen and Team Finland, the wakeup call came yesterday afternoon. As the Finnish coach began his Air Canada Centre news conference, he saw several of Team Canada's big galoots amble by toward their bus. Then he was asked if his surprising Finns might come down with a case of just-happy-to-be-here tomorrow night and become willing accomplices to a Team Canada World Cup celebration on home ice.
Summanen, one win away from the biggest win in Finnish hockey, says his team should give Canada as much grief as it did the Swedes and Americans the past two games.
"We respect Canadian hockey and the team is great, but we have to be hungry," Summanen warned. "Mentally, if we feel we've already done our thing (against the Swedes and Yanks), then it will destroy our team."
Later, Summanen was kibitzing with the media, when he was asked if his hard-nosed approach, which led to defenceman Janne Niinimaa leaving the team, was getting too much publicity.
"Coaching is sometimes yelling," he said at one point, trying to explain his attempt to rid the Finns of their losing mentality. "Hard talk (is needed). The game against Sweden was the biggest moment in Finnish hockey (the Finns blew leads of 3-0 and 4-3, but tied). I said: 'Boys, we can't let them back in the game.' "
After practice following that game, Niinimaa and Summanen had a falling out and the Finns barely beat the Germans to advance.
"Canadians play hard and what is our attitude? It should be the same thing," the former Oiler and Canuck Summanen said. "But we will talk about this and the whole Finnish system after the tournament."