As expected, the Chicago Blackhawks will have a strong representation in the 2014 Winter Olympics next month in Sochi, Russia. Following Canada’s announcement of its team Tuesday morning, 10 Blackhawks have been selected to represent their countries in the Olympics.
A highly-skilled Canadian roster boasts three Blackhawks. Two-time Olympian Jonathan Toews will likely captain the tournament favorites. Duncan Keith is projected to play on the top defensive line. Patrick Sharp, a first-time Olympian, made the cut following a hard push these past two-plus weeks. Sharp has netted nine goals, including two hat tricks since Dec. 23.
Patrick Kane will be the face of Team USA hockey again, as he was named to the roster following the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Kane scored five points in six games for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics.
Two Blackhawks were named to Slovakia’s roster. Marian Hossa was selected for a fourth time. Hossa has been very successful in the Olympics his prior three trips, scoring 25 points, including 12 goals. Hossa will be joined by 36-year old center Michal Handzus.
Team Sweden will be populated with Blackhawks, with three making the cut. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was a lock to make the team, and will likely be holding up the blue line for Sweden for years to come. Hjalmarsson’s defensive partner in Chicago, Johnny Oduya, also will travel to Sochi. Oduya was named to Sweden’s team for a second time. In a bit of a surprise pick, 23-year-old Marcus Kruger was selected and is expected to be used as the team’s fourth-line center.
First-time Olympian Michal Rozsival was selected to an NHL-heavy roster for the Czech Republic.
Two of the final candidates for Team Canada were Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford. Seabrook represented Canada in the 2010 Olympics, but tallied just one assist in seven games. Seabrook is Keith’s right-handed partner in Chicago, so it was a bit surprising to see him left off of the roster. Crawford was among five goaltenders competing for three spots but was not named. Crawford could still be named to the team as a replacement, depending on the severity of Roberto Luongo’s injury.
21-year-old Brandon Saad was one of the final cuts for Team USA as the selection committee opted to take Blake Wheeler over the talented winger who has scored 15 goals this season.
Finally, rookie goaltender Antti Raanta was given an outside shot to make Team Finland’s roster following an 11-1-3 performance during fill-in duty while Crawford was injured. Raanta was impressive in Chicago, but Finland opted to go with more experienced goaltenders in Antti Niemi, Tuukka Rask, and Kari Lehtonen.