Finland's Olympic team received a bit of bad news when it was revealed Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula suffered a non-displaced fractured ankle Thursday according to the team. Filppula is expected to miss the next three weeks, meaning he will not participate in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
For the Lightning, the Olympic break will allow Filppula to heal without missing too many games. The veteran center is second for Tampa Bay with 41 points in 56 games including 20 goals.
The Lightning also revealed that starting goalie Ben Bishop is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
While the Lightning should get by just fine with the Olympic break looming, this is awful news for the Finns.
Filppula likely would have played a sizable role on Finland's Olympic squad, which is looking to improve on its bronze medal finish in 2010. They don't have a ton of guys that can match his level of production at this point with a roster that mixes quite a bit of old and new with its roster.
Sochi would have been Filppula's second trip to the Olympics. He scored three goals in six games in 2010 in Vancouver. He also had 10 points for Finland in the 2012 IIHF World Championship, so he is a proven commodity on the international stage.
Finland has not yet named a replacement as Filppula's status was just revealed today. Making matters worse, Mikko Koivu's status is still not decided after he suffered an ankle injury of his own.
If both end up being out of the Olympics, it's going to be really tough for Finland to get to the medal stand. That said, you can never count out the Finns. They have sisu on their side.