Chicago Blackhawks: A Look at the 10 Players Headed to the Sochi Olympics
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to be well represented at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Come February, 'Hawks fans will be able to watch a host of their team's players on the ice in the Olympic tournament.
Back in July, I previewed how members of the current Blackhawks' roster might figure into the selection process. In that story, I pointed out that as many as 15 players could be representing their respective countries.
In all, 10 Chicago players will be skating in Sochi for five different countries. There are also several former 'Hawks players who will participate in the Olympics. Here is a look at the players who are Sochi-bound in February.
All roster information comes via NHL.com.
The lone American skater from the Blackhawks to make the Olympic roster is Patrick Kane. Kane's selection is hardly surprising, as he is a holdover from the silver medal-winning 2010 Team USA.
Forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Nick Leddy were invited to the orientation camp in July. Leddy didn't seem to merit a lot of consideration, but Saad's name was on the bubble through the latter part of the selection process.
The Team USA roster can be found here.
As was the case in 2010, three Blackhawks will represent Team Canada in the Olympic tournament.
Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith are back on the squad. They will be welcoming Patrick Sharp, who earned his first selection to the Olympic Team when the squad was announced on Tuesday.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook was not named to the 2014 squad after helping Canada win a gold medal in 2010.
Corey Crawford was in the mix for a spot in the net for Team Canada but was not one of the three goalies named to the team.
Chicago's defensive tandem of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya has been used by coach Joel Quenneville to shut down top opposing forwards for much of the season. Now, the two may get the chance to skate together on the blue line in Sochi.
Both players were selected to the Team Sweden roster Tuesday.
This is Oduya's second go-round in the Olympics. He was a member of the 2010 squad, which was seeded second after the preliminary round but lost in the quarterfinals to Slovakia.
This will be Hjalmarsson's first time playing in the Olympics.
Center Marcus Kruger will join Hjalmarsson and Oduya on Team Sweden. This will also be Kruger's first Olympic selection.
The full roster can be found here.
Marian Hossa will be heading to his fourth Olympic team for Slovakia, as will teammate Michal Handzus. Team Slovakia was a surprise back in 2010, finishing fourth after nearly upsetting Canada in the tournament semifinals.
Former 'Hawks forward Tomas Kopecky was also named to this year's team. It is his second trip to the Olympics.
Also of note is that Hossa's younger brother, Marcel, was named to his third Olympic team.
The full Slovakian roster can be found here.
Team Czech Republic
Michal Rozsival has been rotating with Michael Kostka and Sheldon Brookbank in the sixth defensive spot for Chicago. He should be rested and ready to represent the Czech Republic in Sochi.
Rozsival will be playing in his first Olympics at age 35.
Also making his first appearance for Team Czech Republic is former Blackhawks' forward Michael Frolik, who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago last spring.
One other notable selection to the Czech Republic squad is in goal. Alexander Salak, who was in the 'Hawks organization for one tumultuous season in 2011-12, was named to his first Olympic team.
The full Czech Republic roster can be found here.
Other Olympians with 'Hawks Connections
Team Finland, which won the bronze medal in 2010, has three former Blackhawks headed to Sochi. 2009-10 Stanley Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi made his first Olympic team. He is currently the starting goalkeeper in San Jose.
Former Blackhawks Tuomo Ruutu and Sami Lepisto also made the Team Finland roster. Ruutu, currently with Carolina, is headed for his third Olympic tournament. Lepisto, who spent the 2011-12 season in Chicago, is playing in Russia and will be attending his second Olympics.
Making the Norwegian Olympic team is former 'Hawks prospect Mathis Olimb. The center played in Rockford in 2010-11 and will be taking part in his first Olympics.