Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers in Sochi: Alexsander Barkov top center for Finland

With the Olympics still a couple of days away, teams are now starting to arrive and get their first practices in. Team Finland was no exception, as they hit the ground running, literally.

According to a tweet from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Columnist Dejan Kovacevic said reveled that there is truly no rest for the weary.

The biggest news to come out of Finland’s practice was the likely line combinations for the first game were seen for the first time. And due to injuries down the middle, an unexpected face will man the top pivot spot – Alexsander Barkov.

Barkov, the second overall pick, was centering the top line with 21-year old Mikael Granlund and 43-year old Finnish icon Teemu Selanne.

When you combine the two younger plays, they only age out to 39, still four years Selanne’s junior. In fact the Selanne was playing in the NHL in each of their birth years.

Granlund was born in 1992, the same year that Selanne took the year by storm – scoring 76-goals his rookie year, which is still a record.

Barkov’s birth year, 1995, was another landmark year for Selanne, as it was the year he found the home he still calls today (with a few minor detours along the way). 51-games into the 1995-96 season, Selanne was traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Anaheim Ducks.

This is one of the many things that makes the Olympics so fun, you get players playing together that wouldn’t usually and for the players – especially in Barkov’s case – you’re not only on the same team as your boyhood idol but you are linemates with him.

If they asked me to play in a charity game on the same D-pairing as Chris Chelios, he would probably have to knock the grin off my face (no doubt he would).

Anthony Murphy is the Editor at The Rat Trick. You can follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.

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Tags: Aleksander Barkov Finland Florida Panthers Mikael Grandlund Sochi Olympics Teemu Selanne

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