It was certainly an eventful day for the Chicago Blackhawks‘ Olympians at this 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament. Team USA dominated, Slovakia did not and Canada struggled. In all of these games, six Blackhawks took part and had important roles in each one. Whether scoring, or making assists, several Blackhawks answered their country’s call in their own way.
The United States faced Slovakia in one of the first games of the day, with Patrick Kane taking on Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus. The United States dominated 7-1, thanks to six goals during the second period. Kane himself had two assists in the blowout, his second came on the final goal scored by Team USA alternate captain Dustin Brown. Marian Hossa also had a strong game, playing on a line with Michal Handzus, but it was an otherwise forgettable performance for Slovakia.
As for the Americans, their offensive onslaught proves their offense should not be underestimated. Their next game is against Alexander Ovechkin and Russia, who intend to dominate on their home ice. The game could be the equivalent of the USA-Canada game from the group stages in 2010 and the Americans will need all the confidence, momentum and motivation they can get.
And speaking of Canada, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp all had a strong first game against Norway. Toews was impressive in the face-offs, winning most of his. However, neither he nor Sharp had a shot on goal in a team performance that was rather underwhelming. Neither team scored during the first period and the total score was 3-1. Keith, however, did have an assist with Patrice Bergeron for the first goal of the game by his defensive partner Shea Weber (speaking of which, Keith and Weber could make an excellent defensive pairing).
Whether or not this is indicative of the Canadian team, much like the Americans, is unknown. It was only the first game for all three teams in the tournament, and sometimes this does not indicate overall performance. Still, the Americans and Canadians should be confident going into their next games. As for each of the Blackhawks, they can take pride in their performance, no matter how disappointing or fantastic they may be. It looks as if Blackhawks players might help decide the outcome of these games.