After the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Blackhawks from the playoffs, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith committed to play for Team Canada in this spring's IIHF World Championships. Michael Frolik played for the Czech Republic. Nik Hjalmarsson, Viktor Stalberg and Marcus Kruger played for Sweden. Patrick Kane, who is one of the highest profile American born players in the league, decided not to compete for his home country.
Blackhawk and NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk, a former player for Team USA, voiced his disappointment in Kane's decision on WSCR's McNeil and Spiegel Show Wednesday afternoon.
"I don’t know if (it's) Patrick Kane being hurt, but this is the prioritizing or lack thereof to me as an alum of Team USA," Olczyk said, "These World Championships were really important for the seedlings going into the Olympics."
"I was very disappointed that he didn’t go and represent our country and try to help us get a better seed come Olympic time, but maybe there (are) some things that I don’t know behind the scenes.”
Whatever reason Kane had for missing, Olczyk is one observer disappointed in his decision.
I personally couldn't care less if Kane, or any player, plays in the World Championships, Olympics, or any other non-NHL event. Staying healthy for the NHL regular season and playoffs should be a player's priority. Kane played through a sore wrist this season. With that in mind, I'm not sure missing these championships was the worst idea. As long as Kane's priorities are where they belong this offseason.