Patrick Kane: No step back for U.S.

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane doesn't think the U.S. took a step back among the world's hockey powers after failing to medal in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"Not at all," said Kane, who returned to practice with the Blackhawks on Wednesday. "I think we proved we were one the best teams in the tournament the first four games."

The U.S. won twice in regulation and once in a shootout to lead its pool with eight points, outscoring its opponents 15-4. The Americans defeated the Czech Republic 5-3 in the quarterfinals, then lost to Canada 1-0 in the semifinals and were defeated 5-0 by Finland in the bronze-medal game.

The Americans entered the Olympics with high hopes after losing to Canada in overtime in the gold-medal game in 2010. The U.S. hasn't won gold in men's hockey since 1980.

Kane thought the disappointment of the close loss to Canada may have led to the struggles against Finland.

"We had a tough game against Canada," Kane said. "It's tough to come back after a loss like that, to come back and play the next night. Obviously we knew it was for a bronze medal. I think our thoughts going into [the tournament] was kind of gold or nothing. When you get that ripped away from you, and you still have a chance to play for a medal, it's still tough.

"We were playing against a team like Finland, who probably appreciate those bronze medals a little bit more than we could. It would have been nice to bring it home, but it obviously didn't work out that way. But I still thought we had a good tournament and proved ourselves that we're a good hockey country."

Kane said he was pleased with his play despite not having the production to reflect it. He finished the tournament with no goals and four assists in six games. He had three goals and two assists in six games in the Olympics in 2010.

"I think going through the Olympics is obviously a little bit of a struggle, but I felt like I played decent and had enough chances to put up some good numbers," said Kane, who is fifth in the NHL with 63 points. "Just didn't happen that way. I'm actually, if you can believe it, excited where my game is, where I can improve and get better."