Is it time to start a counter for Blackhawks playing in Vancouver this winter?
For reasons beyond me, Sweden passed on Niklas Hjalmarsson over the weekend, which kept the official number of Hawks heading to the Olympics at zero until today. On Tuesday morning, the Slovak men’s hockey team roster was announced with Blackhawks Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky both on it.
That makes two.
On Wednesday, the final Canadian roster will be announced. Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews both appear to be locks for the squad, and Brent Seabrook seems to be pretty safe to play next to Keith. Patrick Sharp is a darkhorse to make the roster because there are so many talented forwards available, but his versatility could make him a solid depth player for Canada to include for the games.
The United States announces their roster on New Year’s Day, and Patrick Kane should be right at the top of that list. Dustin Byfuglien has received some consideration, and given USA Hockey President Brian Burke’s love for big bodies, he could be on the team as well.
As the rosters are finalized, we’ll keep an updated list coming. Unfortunately, the more Blackhawks representing their countries in Vancouver means more games and less rest for the first place Hawks. Though the Olympics isn’t as hard-hitting as the NHL’s regular or post seasons, the blessing and curse of being a great team is that more players will be wanted by their countries.
We’ll discuss the potential implications on the Hawks run for the Stanley Cup once all the rosters are final.
While neither selection is surprising, being a part of the Slovak team could go a long way in raising Kopecky’s confidence. He’s struggled this year, with only five points after two assists on Saturday in Nashville.