Canada completes mission, captures Gold defeating Sweden 3-0 - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Canada completes mission, captures Gold defeating Sweden 3-0

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Team Canada had the most talented and complete roster in the Olympics and on Sunday they fulfilled their mission. Canada's depth proved to be too much for Sweden and they captured the Gold Medal with a decisive 3-0 victory.

The Gold Medal contest featured a matchup of six Blackhawks. Team Canada members were Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews. Playing for Sweden were Niklas HJalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya.

The Toews' line with Patrick Marleau and Jeff Carter has been strong throughout the tourney. They were effective again and combined for the opening goal of the match by Toews.

Hjalmarsson and Oduya have been teamed together and played a big role for Sweden. Those two along with Kruger are major components on Sweden's penalty killing unit that has been very successful. In the tournament Sweden killed off 21 of 23 power play attempts. Kruger was very good versus Canada and showed off his skill and hard working nature.

Keith has been a major part of an air tight Canadian defense. He has also been used on the power play on one point with Sharp playing as the other point man. Sharp has come on and played well in his Olympic debut.

Mike Babcock is one of the top coaches in the NHL and is very difficult to defeat with a talent laden roster. Babcock pushes the right buttons and to a man his team responded. Canada never trailed in any game throughout their Gold Medal run.

A player who always seems to shine in the biggest contests either in the NHL or while playing in an international setting is Toews. Once again he exhibited his ability to play a highly effective game in all three zones.

Sidney Crosby is likely the most talented player in the world. But no one is better when it matters the most than Toews, who scored the game winning goal on Sunday.

The goal scorers for Canada besides Toews were Crosby and his linemate Chris Kunitz.

Between the pipes Carey Price finished off a great tourney with a shutout. Henrik Lundqvist kept the score down with a fine performance and couldn't be faulted for the loss.

Sweden suffered a major setback in losing Henrik Zetterberg to injury after playing in only one game. Before puck drop it was announced Niklas Backstrom was also unable to play. It has been reported Backstrom took an allergy medication which had a banned substance and was ruled out for the game.

Sweden would have had their hands full with Canada with both players on the ice. To defeat Canada without their top two centers would be unlikely. Sweden has to be credited for their effort as they are another talented club loaded with NHL players.

Canada was the best team on paper to start and proved their strength in making no mistakes when it counted most. They finished the tournament undefeated, which has not happened since 1984.

Al's Shots

Much has been made of how Team USA ended the Olympics. The U.S. didn't regain the focus needed to compete with Finland who valued winning the Bronze Medal.

Patrick Kane had a forgettable game and his remarks about it being Gold or bust for the Americans rang true. Team USA did end with a bust and with an embarrassing performance.

Kane has also made similar remarks in the past of it being a Cup or bust year for the Blackhawks. That declaration is much different than saying similar concerning Olympic Gold. After losing in the playoffs a team goes home, not so always in the Olympics.

The U.S. should have never been thought of as one of the top two favorites to win a Gold medal. Kane isn't alone as obviously many teammates felt the same as he did. At least the effort from Team USA after falling behind to Finland indicated the same.

The leadership on Team USA has to be questioned.

The Gold or bust mantra should have been downplayed from the start. Kane shouldn't be the only goat. Veterans who may never have another a chance at an Olympic medal failed to instill the right values as did the coaching staff.

Receiving any medal was something all of Team USA should have valued otherwise they should have stayed home.

Blackhawks Notes

On Saturday defenseman Michael Kostka was placed on waivers. The Olympic trade freeze will soon be lifted and it appears the Hawks are trying to free up some cap space to make an acquisition.

It's interesting GM Stan Bowman would risk losing an eighth defenseman as the most crucial time of the season approaches. This is especially odd considering Kostka was kept on the roster coming out of camp and for the entire season, although only playing in nine games.

Hindsight is 20/20 but one mistake does lead to another.

Kostka should have been placed on waivers as training camp ended. Most likely Kostka would have had a better chance than Ryan Stanton of clearing waivers. Kostka's previous season in Toronto wasn't noteworthy and as it turned out he was out with a lengthy injury as soon as this season began.

Stanton was the best defenseman in Rockford in the previous two seasons but maybe he wasn't considered NHL ready as Kostka was a summer signing. As it turns out Stanton was ready and was scooped up off waivers by the Canucks and has played in 45 games.

Now the Hawks have little available cap space due to the long term injured reserve status of Nikolai Khabibulin and the acquisition of Kris Versteeg. In hindsight the Khabibulin signing was also a mistake.

Bowman always has a plan and it will be interesting to see how he strengthens his club before the March 5 trade deadline.

Bowman will be looking to catch lightning in a bottle as was the case last season with the Michal Handzus acquisition. This time the Hawks have less available cap space, so Bowman has his work cut out for him.

Injuries can come in bunches, the Canucks for example have gone through 11 different defensemen this season.

Bowman knows the upcoming final 22 regular season games will be very important. Maybe he will replace Kostka with a more veteran presence on the blueline or maybe he will roll the dice. No veteran defenseman playing in Rockford is nearly as good as Kostka or Sheldon Brookbank. It also appears the youngsters are not ready for NHL prime time, so we will see.

The Blackhawks won't get back in action until Thursday when they will be in New York to play the Rangers. Then the team will return home for a Saturday night matchup with Pittsburgh at Soldier Field.

Kane could return as a player who wants to shake off the Olympics and could be very energized to bring home another Stanley Cup. At least Hawk fans will be hoping so.

I will be back on Friday and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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