Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is a legend, there is no doubt about that. But… One area of his career is still lacking: international success.
Patrick Kane is a first-ballot Hall of Famer whose number 88 will be retired by the Blackhawks the year after retirement. Well-known for his skillset on offense and dependable in clutch situations, he has been a problem for the league since he was a rookie. Add on 3 Stanley Cups, a Ted Lindsay, an Art Ross, a Hart, and a Conn Smythe, Kane has enjoyed great success in the NHL.
With that said, there is one part of his career that has not been as good: International success.
With a 2010 silver medal, Kane’s international success has taken a dive. As much as you can say that the team around him didn’t play up to par (as is definitely the case in the 2016 World Cup) his points total in Sochi 2014 was underwhelming to say the least. In 6 games, he had 4 points of assists only. He did much better later, however, by dominating the World Championships in 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, his heroics only took the USA to a bronze medal in 2018, and a 7th place finish in 2019.
2010 was a dogfight between Canada and USA, 2014 was a loss to Finland, 2016 was not competitive, constructed with the intent of beating Canada. As we all know, this failed miserably. This time around, I am certain that Stan Bowman will take the best players available and, in doing so, will set Kane up for success.
America has produced quite a few superstars in the last decade or so, with Alex Debrincat emerging as one of the top snipers in the league, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel are franchise (or former) cornerstones, Dylan Larkin is a highly effective player, as are Matthew and Brady Tkachuk, who can both score and annoy Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid from the first whistle to the final. We should expect to see Seth Jones manning the back-end as well. With a good mix of speed, skill, and grit, the predicted Team USA should be a force to be reckoned with.
Kane’s legendary career speaks for itself as one of the top 100 NHL players in history, but success at the highest level of international hockey has eluded him. The upcoming Olympic games is setting Kane up for his best (and potentially last, if the NHL and IIHF can’t negotiate in four years) chance at a gold medal.