Winter Games Athletes
Goaltending depth may be the strongest aspect of Team Finland, but it appears Rask will be the starter to begin the Olympics. Rask, Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi all could make strong cases for the starting nod. Niemi poses the strongest threat to Rask for the No. 1 job, but Rask's numbers for a Boston Bruins team coming off an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals give him the edge. Though this will be the first season Rask has started more than 39 games, he's proving to be one of the league's top goaltenders. He became the first rookie in history to lead the NHL with a goals-against average below 2.00 (1.97) and save percentage (.931) in 2009-10 after taking the starting job from Tim Thomas. Rask, though, was again relegated to backup duty the following season as Thomas won the Vezina Trophy and guided Boston to the Stanley Cup title. The job unquestionably is Rask's now, as he signed an eight-year contract that made him one of the league's highest-paid goalies after helping the Bruins win the Eastern Conference championship last season. Rask is having another stellar campaign this season, going 25-13-4 with a 2.11 GAA while Niemi and Lehtonen have struggled at times. This will make Rask's first Olympic appearance, but he won a bronze medal with Finland at the 2006 World Junior Championships.