5 Wild players earn Olympic roster spots

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - They're currently fighting for a playoff spot, but that can't be because the Minnesota Wild roster lacks talent.

Want proof? On Tuesday the hockey club announced that five of its players have been named to Olympic rosters in their respective home countries.

Forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter will play for Team USA, forward Nino Niederreiter was named to Switzerland's roster, and forwards Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu were named to Finland's roster early Tuesday. Koivu may not be able to take the ice following surgery Monday for a fractured foot.

Parise and Suter are veterans of international play: Parise, a Minnesota native, tallied eight points (4-4=8) in six games for the United States at the 2010 Olympics and won a silver medal. He ranked tied for third in the tournament in scoring, served as an alternate captain and scored game-tying goal with 24.4 seconds remaining to send the gold-medal game against Canada into overtime (2/28/10).

Suter recorded four assists in six games as an alternate captain for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics and won a silver medal. He led Team USA in TOI/game at 22:50, ranked tied for first on the team in assists and tied for the tournament lead with a plus-9 rating.

Koivu played for Finland at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. He skated in eight games in 2006 as Finland captured the silver medal and tallied four assists in six games in 2010 as Finland earned a bronze.

Granlund and Niederreiter are Olympic rookies, representing their countries for the first time.

The Sochi Olympics open February 6 with men's ice hockey beginning February 12. The participating teams are based on the nations ranked 1-9 according to the 2012 IIHF Men's World Ranking plus three qualifiers.

The four teams with the best records (the group winners and the second-place team with the best record) advance to the quarterfinals on February 19. The Gold Medal Game is set for 6 a.m. CT on Sunday, February 23.


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