Before he left for Vancouver, Patrick Kane was realistic about the U.S. team and its chances to win a medal.
“We’re a longshot. I know that,” Kane said. “Maybe we can use that to our advantage.”
Longshots no more, the U.S. team will enter quarterfinal play as the No. 1 seed. On Monday, Kane sat down in Vancouver for a live chat with fans on the Blackhawks' Web site. Safe to say, the win on Sunday was a highlight.
“Pretty fun moment, us USA-born players and a great feeling for sure -- just winning the game to be honest with you, but I think it was a good measuring stick for us, and we proved ourselves well,” Kane said.
Kane played over 16 minutes on Sunday but said he wasn’t on the ice much against his Hawks teammates, other than Duncan Keith. He did stop for a moment in the handshake line to congratulate Toews, who had two assists Sunday.
“I thought he played a really good game, and I just told him that,” Kane said. “It's not fun being on the other side after playing with him for so long. I told him good job and wished him luck the rest of the tournament.”
As you would expect Kane gave high praise to goaltender Ryan Miller.
“He's been outstanding, that's for sure,” Kane said. “He made a lot of big, key saves late in the third. He's been everything I expected him to be, especially in a tourney like this where goaltending can be so big. Even against the Norwegians and Swiss, he made key saves to keep us in the game early. He's been remarkable so far.”
Kane was asked which was more intense: the NHL playoffs last year or Sunday’s game against Canada?
“I'd probably say last year's playoffs, but last night's game is right up there with anything I've ever played being in a hostile environment,” Kane said. “The Canadians came out for warmups a few minutes after us and it just erupted. I think it's going to heat up as the Games go on.”
So back to those predictions for the U.S. team. Kane didn't give much credence to a gold medal before the Games. Now, winning it seems like a real possibility.
“I do. I really do right now," Kane said. "Going into this I think people saw us as underdogs, but we finished first to start the prelims, and we beat Canada, probably the most skilled team in the tourney, so we're excited about our chances.”