Because Avs got bounced early, Mikko Rantanen will play more hockey
May 3, 2023, 2:53 PM
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Avalanche superstar Mikko Rantanen isn’t done playing hockey this season.
Even though Colorado was surprisingly bounced by the Kraken in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Rantanen has more big tournament games ahead of him.
The Avs leading goal-scorer this season, with a team-record 55 of them, committed to play for his home country of Finland in the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The tournament starts on May 12, with Finland taking on the United States in group play.
Leijonille taas hienoja uutisia: Mikko Rantanen saapuu MM-kotikisoihin! Lue lisää: https://t.co/3rkVtkl7mY#Leijonat #MMkisat #MMkotikisat #IIHFWorlds #WeLiveTheGame @Avalance
Kuva: Lehtikuva pic.twitter.com/hTKJbaTpv9
— Leijonat (@leijonat) May 3, 2023
If you click on the tweet above, it can be translated. The news has also been confirmed by multiple reporters.
Ironically, that game will be in Nokia Arena, where Rantanen already played for Colorado last season. The team faced the Blue Jackets as part of the NHL’s International Series, and Rantanen scored a hat trick in the first of two games.
The Finnish fans gave him a huge welcome home, and he was clearly up for the task. The Avalanche beat Columbus 6-3 in the first game and 5-1 in the second.
The Athletic’s Peter Baugh is reporting fellow Finnish forward Artturi Lehkonen won’t be able to join Rantanen in the World Championships, because he suffered an injury during the series with the Kraken.
This is obviously bittersweet news. It’s cool that Rantanen can help Finland pursue a title after winning a Cup with the Avs last summer. It’d also be better if Colorado were still in the playoffs, and he was trying to help them beat Dallas in Round 2.
The World Championships last 16 days, with the title game scheduled for May 28. We’ll see if Rantanen and Finland are still playing that night, long after the rest of the Avalanche players have started their summers.