Maatta: 'We wanted it more'

Dave Molinari 10 years ago

It looked to a lot of people like Finland was more interested in the bronze-medal game at the Olympics last Saturday than its opponent, the United States, was.

Penguins rookie defenseman Olli Maatta, who played for the Finns, is one of them.

"For sure, we wanted it more, and it showed," he said today. "It’s not easy to find motivation for the bronze-medal game after a tough loss. I think we had an advantage, had more time."

Finland lost its semifinal game against Sweden last Friday a few hours before Canada beat the U.S. in the other semi.

Maatta, who said he shipped his bronze medal home to Finland and got back to Pittsburgh Monday morning, called competing in the Games "the best experience I’ve probably had in my life."

He said being involved in the Olympics was "even better than I thought. I never would have though it would be that much fun. I really enjoyed it."

Maatta also said he is prepared to shoulder a larger role for the Penguins in coming weeks if that is necessitated by the absence of defensemen Kris Letang (stroke) and Paul Martin (hand).

"There are always guys who step up," he said. "If it comes to me, yeah, I’m ready for it. But we have a lot of good (defensemen) in this organization.

"It doesn’t matter who’s on the ice. You know they’re going to do their job."