Pressure's on for non-Olympic Blackhawks once season resumes

Pressure's on for non-Olympic Blackhawks once season resumes
February 20, 2014, 5:30 pm
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CSN Staff

Once the Olympics are over, it's back to the day job for the 10 Blackhawks who made the trip to Sochi.

But once they get back, they're going to need some help.

While many of the 10 Hawks continue to compete in Russia, the rest of the team has been on break, resting up for the final few months of the NHL regular season and another run at the Stanley Cup. And according to Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, the pressure will be on those Hawks who stayed home to take on a bigger role while the returning Olympians recuperate from the tournament in Sochi.

[MORE: Mission accomplished: Olympian Brian Hansen finally found all 10 Blackhawks]

"Before we headed to the break, coach Joel Quenneville talked not only about the Blackhawks heading over to the Olympics but more specifically about the Blackhawks players who were not. And he said that those guys, those guys that did not play in the Olympics, they might have to take the onus of this team on when they come back out of the break," she said. "But they're going to have the fresher legs out of all the Blackhawks that have been going overseas. So coach Joel Quenneville said, listen, we need these guys to come out of the gate, take a little bit more of the minutes, possibly, a little bit more of the responsibility until the guys who have been over in Sochi have to pick up a little bit of the pace.

"So look for those guys, those role players to play a big key coming out of this break while the guys from Sochi get their legs back under them."

With all the Blackhawks who have played in the Olympic tournament, it's sometimes hard to remember which Blackhawks haven't been playing in Russia. Of the 10 Hawks who made the trip, seven are still playing in the semifinals: Patrick Kane (U.S.A.); Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp (Canada); Johnny Oduya, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger (Sweden). Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus (Slovakia) and Michal Rozsival (Czech Republic) were eliminated earlier this week.