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2016 World Cup of Hockey schedule: USA vs. Finland

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Uncle Leo takes on the USA in a final pretournament match.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

When/Where:

7 PM ET, Verizon Center, Washington, DC, USA

How to Watch:

ESPN (and WatchESPN), SN1, TVAS, Game Center Live

Odds:

Finland: 14-1; USA: 13-2

Preview:

Patrik Laine made the Finnish roster and became the youngest player in the tournament, younger even than Team N/A's baby, Auston Matthews. The team has 9 players who could've qualified for Team N/A, good for the second-youngest roster, and the coach, Lauri Marjamaki, is the youngest of all the coaches at age 39. Shockingly good young players include Aleksander Barkov, who just signed a new six-year, 35.4 million dollar contract with the Panthers, Sebastian Aho, Stanley Cup winner Teuvo Teravainen, and other Stanley Cup winner Olli Maatta, to name a few.

What Finland has that Team N/A does not is a veteran presence, including Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula, Tuukka Rask (who didn't look great in his last start against the Swedes), Pekka Rinne (who did look great in the first match against the Swedes), and our own Uncle Leo. Is it too much to hope for a Team Finland vs. Team N/A final? I see this team getting by the United States with zero problems, as long as their goaltending holds.

Fear the Fin wrote an interesting piece discussing the experiential depth of Team Finland:

Yet despite the youth, Marjamäki and his team have a lot of international experience, Nine players return from its bronze medal-winning team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where Marjamäki served as an assistant in Sochi and has twice been an assistant for the national team at the senior level. He also coached Finland to a sixth-place finish at the 2011 World Juniors.

Team USA is still being Team USA. El Seldo wrote a recap of the 1996 World Cup-winning Team USA over here, pointing out that they won by being bullies on the ice, and that this year's team is constructed along the same lines. This tactic worked fine in the first exhibition match against Team Canada, and then failed in the second one. In the words of ESPN:

One shouldn't read too much into exhibition results, but the style of play and the Americans' insistence on disturbing the peace whenever possible is exactly the brand of hockey we expected them to play. After seeing it, now we have to wonder if it's going to work when the games matter.

Will Team USA channel their inter Quantico and level all opposition? Yeah, we'll see.

Lines for Finland (updated when more information is available):

Jussi Jokinen-Aleksander Barkov-Patrik Laine
Leo Komorov-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Joonas Donskoi-Jori Lehtera-Teuvo Teravainen
Erik Haula-Valtteri Filppula-Lauri Korpikoski
Scratch: Sebastian Aho

Olli Maata-Sami Vatanen
Esa Lindell-Rasmus Ristolainen
Jyrki Jokipakka-Sami Lepisto
Scratch: Ville Pokka

Pekka Rinne
Tuukka Rask

Lines for the USA (updated when more information is available):

Max Pacioretty - Joe Pavelski - Patrick Kane
Zach Parise - Derek Stepan - Blake Wheeler
Justin Abdelkader - Ryan Kesler - T.J. Oshie
JvR - David Backes - Brandon Dubinsky
Scratch: Kyle Palmieri

Ryan McDonagh - John Carlson
Ryan Suter - Dustin Byfuglien
Jack Johnson - Erik Johnson
Scratch: Matt Niskanen

Jonathan Quick
Ben Bishop