Erik Gustafsson: Water polo
The young defenseman doesn’t really strike me as fitting a specific Summer Olympics sport. So I’m going to put him in the pool for some water polo. It’s a pretty physical sport, but not defined by that. There’s also skilled passing and teamwork in moving the ball around to find a perfect shot.
Gustafsson had a nice rookie half-season in which he used his body on occasion but was more helpful on offense, dishing out 14 assists. He was constantly looking to help his teammates find the perfect shot.
Niklas Hjalmarsson: Boxing
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This is an interesting one, because Hjalmarsson obviously isn’t a fighter. He can be a little extra physical when he has to, but he’s more known for using his body to stop opposing offense. Hjammer gets boxing as his sport because of the amount of abuse he can take while not going down.
Hjammer sometimes looks like a boxer after his exploits, getting hit everywhere with pucks and sticks. But he always gets back up, and he’ll dish out some punishment when you least expect it, like a crafty boxer.
Marian Hossa: Field hockey
Hossa’s entire life has been hockey, so there’s no reason to take it away from him in the Olympics. It’s hard to imagine Hossa not in a hockey rink, as he’s been playing since age 19. Now 37, Hossa has played in well over 1,000 games across the NHL and international action. So field hockey it is.
Patrick Kane: Shooting
Kane is kind of good at shooting the hockey puck, pulling off some amazingly difficult shots in small spaces and showing pinpoint precision and accuracy. This one speaks for itself.
Duncan Keith: Modern pentathlon
Maybe I should’ve given Keith fencing, since he has an unfortunate disposition toward hitting people with his stick. But that would be harsh, and not befitting how important Keith is to the Blackhawks.
He can do everything on the ice — slow opposing forwards, block shots, dish out hits, set up offense, make perfect stretch and short passes, score goals. Likewise, the modern pentathlete needs to do it all — fencing (hey, it found a way in), swimming, show jumping (on a horse), pistol shooting and running. This is perfect for Keith.
Next: A Forward In Sync?