Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Early World Cup Experiences Mixed

By Gail Kauchak
Sep 9, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Team USA forward Patrick Kane (88) against Team Canada during a World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game at Nationwide Arena. Team USA won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Team USA forward Patrick Kane (88) against Team Canada during a World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game at Nationwide Arena. Team USA won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Team Sweden vs. Team Russia

Moving on to Sunday’s games, the matinee featured the Swedes and the Russians.  Now, I ask you, who doesn’t like the Swedes?!  They are a team that is known for its great defense; defensemen were involved in both scores in a 2-1 victory.

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Representing Team Sweden were the Chicago Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marcus Kruger.  These are two gentlemen who always play their hearts out; yet they seem to fly under the radar no matter who they play for.

Hjalmarsson got lost in the defensive shuffle to Erik Karlsson (1 assist) and Victor Hedman (1 goal).  Kruger had 0 points, but he put up a respectable 56 percent faceoff success rate.

On the Russian side of things, Blackhawk Artemi Panarin also generated 0 points, although I would expect that to change as the tournament goes along.  Artem Anisimov, on the other hand, had a pretty horrific game.  His performance is best summed up by a tweet from The Athletic’s Scott Powers.

I think Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville would be smart to consider putting Kruger in for faceoffs on the second line instead of Anisimov whenever possible once the NHL regular season gets started.

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