Sunday, September 18, 2016
Stunning U.S. loss to Europe shows need for Patrick Kane to take control
Roster Team Canada Hockey Jersey at the world hockey championship is so complex that it has a six-time NHL All-Star and former Hart Trophy winner Joe Thornton on his fourth line.
The two-time reigning Olympic medalists Gold are favorites to grab the World Cup, which began on Saturday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and just happen to be the next opponent for the United States, which is reeling after a 3-0 upset loss to the European team in the first match of the two the week of the tournament.
US placed itself under the threat of an early exit from the lethargic effort against Europe and will need someone to take control if he has big ideas on what to run to the championship tournament.
Someone like, say, a certain number 88.
"I would go so far as to say that our team has a good chance because Patrick Kane in the prime of life," said Team USA winger Max Pacioretty of the Blackhawks. "I feel that he is the best player in the game (and) ... this tournament is set perfectly for him.
"A guy like that can change a game in one shift, so for the rest of the team, our identity will be difficult to play against, and make life difficult for them. But 'Kaner,' let him do his job, let him play offense. He is the best in the world it, and it will be interesting to watch. "
It was mostly difficult to observe Americans against Europe as a rag-tag group of players from eight countries, controlled play throughout to pull off the stunner.
Galak made 35 saves to record the shutout while Gaborik, Leon Draisaitl Bellmar and scored to provide the offense for Team Europe.
"We are chasing the tournament - is a place that we do not want to be in," said US coach John Tortorella. "This is a very dangerous place, but we're here. So we just have to stick together, do not blow themselves up here and have a few good days of practice and get ready for our next opponent and try to do better."
Kane, who led the NHL scoring last season with 46 goals and 60 assists, will require more effort to combat Canadians. A native of Buffalo had four shots on goal in 18 minutes, 48 seconds of playing time, and turn, trying to control the puck, which led to a second period goal Draisaitl, that made it 2-0.
"A couple of our mistakes, turnovers, pinching, giving them the odd-man-breaks, they were able to capitalize on," Kane said. "On this second goal, I will take the blame on that one. This is a game I made a million times in my career. I just kind of lost the puck and the next thing you know, they go down two at -0. This is unacceptable to me."
The consensus is that Kane is the type of player who can change the outcome of the game - and therefore the compressed schedule of the tournament - with his offensive talents that will need more than ever after Saturday's loss.
"There are a lot of guys here that can have this great game, but it is certainly at the top of the list," said Sidney Crosby, who later scored the first goal in a 6-0 victory over the Czech Republic in Canada. "Ultimately, you are trying to help each other, as a group, but I think that Patrick Kane has shown again and again that he can do these big games. They will look at it to make it into the tournament."
Six players scored in Canada, including the captain of the Blackhawks Toews, who made it 5-0.
Crosby & Co. get a first-hand look at Kane on Tuesday night, when Canada and the US to renew their rivalry.
"(Kane) is a game-changer," said Canada forward Matt Duchene. "He's a guy who just got better and better and better. It makes them very dangerous."