Team Finland Gets Heroes Welcome In Helsinki

Believe it or not, there was some good news for Wild fans over the weekend, although it was hugely overshadowed by the tragic passing of Derek Boogaard.

But one of Boogaard’s former teams, the Houston Aeros, is now two wins away from advancing to the Calder Cup finals after a 3-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs last night. Colton Gillies notched the game-winner while Robbie Earl and Marco Scandella also scored. Jared Spurgeon notched a pair of assists.

There is still a lot of work to be done right now for the Aeros, but thus far, their playoff record is an impressive 10-3. And this was a team that didn’t get a sniff of the postseason a year ago.

And across the pond, Boogaard’s fellow 2001 Wild draftee Mikko Koivu won a gold medal at the World Championships as Finland thumped their arch nemesis, Team Sweden by a 6-1 score. Koivu and Mikael Granlund each had an assist in the game, but of course the talk of the tournament was Granlund’s jaw-dropping goal in the semifinals against Russia. The Wild’s top pick last year finished the tournament with two goals and seven assists in nine games.

If you have any doubt about how popular the kid is over there, check out this link so you can build your own Granlund Paper Doll.

As for Koivu, he picked up two goals and six assists in the nine games and served as team captain.

To view some photos upon Team Finland’s arrival back in Helsinki, you can check out this gallery courtesy of Tomi Natri.

Finally, Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky picked up bronze medals after defeating Russia in the third place game. Zidlicky had a goal and four assists in nine games, while Havlat had two goals and four assists in six games.

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