What an incredible two weeks for six of the Chicago Blackhawks!
In Sunday’s gold medal game, the United States and Canada played a legendary game that featured all of the drama the Olympics is about. Finally, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews put the puck in the next to push his point total to eight (one goal, seven assists) in the tournament. Toews was voted the best forward of the Olympic tournament by the media, and led the tournament in assists. He also ended the tournament fifth in faceoff win percentage at 64.76. The United States’ goalie Ryan Miller was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, but a strong case was made for Toews to win that honor as well.
Duncan Keith ended the tournament tied for second among all Olympic defensemen with six points (six assists). His +6 rating was tied with fellow Canadians Drew Doughty and Eric Staal for third in the tournament; Toews tied for the overall tournament lead in plus-minutes at +9 with Ryan Suter of the United States. Amazingly, not a single goal was scored in the tournament while Toews was on the ice.
Brent Seabrook became the seventh defenseman for Canadian (and Red Wings) coach Mike Babcock, and average just 8:26 on the ice per game in the tournament. Seabrook did record one assist, however, and ended the Olympics +2 despite his lack of playing time.
For the United States, Patrick Kane was the object of some criticism before the medal rounds began. Some national analysts went as far as to say that Kane was as disappointing for the US as Toews was exceptional for Canada. In five games, Kane had only one point on a goal early in the tournament. However, Kane silenced his critics in his final two games.
In the medal round against Finland, Kane led the Americans with two goals. Then, in the gold medal game, Kane was the exceptional creator Hawks fans know. He was credited with an assist on both of the United States’ goals, the first being a re-directed shot that got past Roberto Luongo and the second a quick release in traffic that Luongo left enough of for Zach Parise to score the dramatic game-tying goal with just 24.4 seconds left in regulation. Kane ended the Olympics with five points (three goals, two assists) and a +4 rating.
Slovakia, a darkhorse in the tournament featuring a handful of NHL players including Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky, advanced further than any team in the country’s history. The hard-fought loss to Finland, in which Hossa scored a goal and had an assist, ended a great run in which Hossa finished second in the Olympics in scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists). Kopecky played very well, and will hopefully see his confidence carry over to the final six weeks of the NHL season.