International Ice Hockey Federation

Finland’s local hero

Finland’s local hero

Goalie Koskinen knows St. Petersburg

Published 02.05.2016 11:43 GMT+3 | Author Alexander Yakobson
Finland’s local hero
Finnish goaltender Mikko Koskinen. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Mikko Koskinen will be one of the three goalkeepers of the Finnish national team in St. Petersburg where he spent the season with KHL team SKA.

Who do you think will be the favourite in Group B in St. Petersburg and in general?
The biggest favourite of the tournament is the Russian national team. After all, in my opinion, Russia has probably the strongest squad among all teams. The Finnish national team is a mix of youth and experience. We can fight for the top places. Now we are at the final stage of preparation and focus on it. We think only about our team.

SKA St. Petersburg was not able to defend the Gagarin Cup but now you had more time to prepare for the Worlds and signed a new two-year deal with the club. Which factors outweigh now, the positive or negative ones?
Of course, as the goaltender of SKA I would have liked to get to the finals and win the Gagarin Cup. This is certainly a disappointment for me. It is also true I had more time for recovering. That's why I feel in shape. I'm happy with new contract too. The next two years I will play for SKA and now I can fully focus on the World Championship.

Is it already clear which goaltender will be the number one in the Finnish net?
I'm ready for the role of number one and give 100 per cent in each session. But the question is better to be asked the coach. It's up to him to make this decision.

What was the most important work during the training camp for the Finnish team?
I will of course not tell everything. We solved question of physical conditioning, we practised twice a day. Then we began to pay more attention to team work and tactics. All exhibition games showed that we were moving in the right direction and this movement should continue.

There are a lot of SKA players on the Russian national team, so you are kind of a Finnish expert for the Russian national team. Will you have interesting stories to tell?
If the coach asks me, I will share all information I have. For example, the power play unit of the Russian team will be the same like in the club. Of course, I don't know exactly, but we'll see. I expect to see there Shipachyov and Dadonov. The key pairs on defence can also be the same like in St. Petersburg. We can say I know something about the Russian team.

What were your expectations about the exhibition matches against Russia in Moscow?
They were a great challenge for the Finnish team. At the crowded arena everyone was waiting for these last rehearsals. For me it was special to play against the Russian team because I wanted to beat my teammates from SKA. (Smiles) I did everything to beat the strongest opponent we had before and we will hopefully have during the World Championship. After all, we have to start in St. Petersburg, only then we can get a chance to move to Moscow.

Are you glad to start the tournament in St. Petersburg?
Of course, this is a positive thing. I am sure that there will be a lot of our fans at the venue.

What factor will the NHLers have on the Finnish team?
The most positive point for us is that we can achieve great results with the roster we have. Focusing on this, we do not think too much about it. If the coach decides that a player can strengthen us then we welcome him with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

 

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