SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Johnny Oduya #27 of Sweden handles the puck against Martin Pluss #28 of Switzerland in the third period during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
While their teams all found success in Friday action at the Sochi Olympics, the seven Chicago Blackhawks Olympians didn’t exactly shine brightly in those victories.
For Team Canada, Jonathan Toews did pick up an assist on Drew Doughty’s first period goal after he won a face-off and the Kings’ defenseman fired a wrist shot into the net, but other than that, no Blackhawk found his way onto the scoresheet in any of the games played on Friday.
Duncan Keith did pull a plus-3 rating for the Canadians, but his contributions were strictly of a defensive nature in this one, and he really didn’t have the puck on his stick a lot in the game as other guys like PK Subban, Doughty, and Shea Weber really asserted themselves on the blue line.
The third Canadian Blackhawk on the roster, Patrick Sharp, didn’t even play in this game, as he was scratched in favor of Colorado Avalanche youngster Matt Duchene, who was held off the scoresheet in 14:28 of ice time but did take four shots on goal in the game as he made his way through several different line combinations.
After the game, here’s what Toews and Keith had to say about the decision by head coach Mike Babcock to keep Sharp out of the lineup:
Jonathan Toews spoke with #Blackhawks and Canada teammate Patrick Sharp about scratch: "It's not easy. I'm sure he's ...not happy."
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) February 14, 2014
Duncan Keith hadn't seen Sharp today, but said "At the end of the day, we're all big boys." #Sochi2014
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 14, 2014
Sharp wasn’t the only Blackhawk singing the blues in Sochi. The three Swedish Blackhawks in the Olympic tournament were surely happy that their team was able to scratch out a 1-0 win against Switzerland, but their gold medal chances still took a big hit, as captain Henrik Zetterberg was sent home with a herniated disc in his back. His loss, along with the losses of Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen before the Games even began, have really left Sweden behind the eight-ball, and they are going to have a tough time getting into the medal round at the rate things are going.
As for the players themselves, none of them did very much in this one. Niklas Hjalmarsson did have two shots on goal in the game, but both Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger were complete non-factors for the Swedes, who looked a bit shell-shocked after the bad news they had received before the game.
As for the Czech Republic side, Michal Rozsival’s team did pick up a key win to get themselves back into contention for a high seed in the playoff round, but Rozsival didn’t do much to participate in the game. He did play 19:34 in the game, but he watched as other players like Marek Zidlicky provided some big-time spark off the blue line as the Czechs won a 4-2 decision over Latvia.
On Saturday, the Blackhawks in Sochi will look to get things back on track as seven of them will once again take to the ice. Here is the schedule, along with which players will be competing in the games:
2am Central: Slovakia (Hossa, Handzus) vs. Slovenia – MSNBC
6:30am Central: USA (Kane) vs. Russia – NBCSN
11am Central: Switzerland vs. Czech Republic (Rozsival) – NBCSN
11am Central: Sweden (Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Kruger) vs. Latvia – USA Network