TORONTO — Eric Staal won the gold, the most coveted prize, but his was just one of four Olympic medals won by Hurricanes.
Tim Gleason came back from Vancouver — ever so reluctantly -- with a silver medal, and Finland's Tuomo Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen won bronze medals. No one came back empty handed.
"It was really fun," Ruutu said today of his Olympic experience. "They did a great job with everything. It was one of the best times of my life.
"Obviously you shoot for the gold. But it was not bad for Finland. It's not an every-day thing and you are proud just to be a part of the team."
Pitkanen's Olympics proved to be more stressful. The defenseman was suspended for the quarterfinal-round game for a hit from behind on Patric Hornqvist of Sweden in a preliminary round game.
"It was really disappointing," Pitkanen said. "At first I didn't know how long I would get suspended. They said at first I might be out the tournament, so I was a little worried.
"It was one of the toughest moments in my hockey career. If we lost that quarterfinal game, my tournament is over. So I was pretty nervous."
Pitkanen made it back for the semfinal game against the U.S., only to have the Americans erupt for six first-period goals. Talk about being blitzed early.
"It was not us not being prepared," Ruutu said. "The first couple of minutes we were actually playing pretty well and something just happened and they got those six goals out of nowhere.
"We didn't play well but it was like everything was going their way and nothing was going our way. Sometimes it's like that. No excuses."
And, in the end, no complaints. The Finns rallied in the third period to beat Slovakia to win the bronze.
"It was a great experience and you will have memories of it the rest of your life," Pitkanen said. "Always you will know you were in the Olympics."