Kane, Toews ready to get back to work with Hawks

Updated 2/26/2014 8:51 PM
  • Blackhawks teammates Jonathan Toews (Canada) and Marcus Kruger (Sweden) face each other during the gold-medal game on the final day of the Sochi Olympics.

    Blackhawks teammates Jonathan Toews (Canada) and Marcus Kruger (Sweden) face each other during the gold-medal game on the final day of the Sochi Olympics. Associated Press

Most of the Blackhawks Olympians were back at Johnny's West on Wednesday, although Jonathan Toews didn't go on the ice for practice.

Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp were part of Canada's gold medal-winning team that beat Sweden in the final. Keith didn't attend practice, but he was scheduled to rejoin the team for its flight to New York.

Hawks Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger played for Sweden. All three Swedes practiced Wednesday, along with Sharp and Patrick Kane.

Kane was on the ice for the first time since returning from Sochi, where the U.S. failed to come home with a medal. He doesn't consider it a setback for USA hockey.

"Not at all," Kane said. "I think we proved we were one the best teams in the tournament the first four games."

Kane struggled in the tournament with no goals. He missed on 2 penalty shots in the Americans' loss to Finland in the bronze-medal game.

"We had a tough game against Canada," Kane said. "It's tough to come back after a loss like that, to come back and play the next night. Obviously we knew it was for a bronze medal.

"I think our thoughts going in was kind of gold or nothing. When you get that ripped away from you, and you still have a chance to play for a medal, it's still tough.

"We were playing against a team like Finland, who probably appreciate those bronze medals a little bit more than we could. It would have been nice to bring it home, but it obviously didn't work out that way. But I still thought we had a good tournament and proved ourselves that we're a good hockey country."

Kane was pleased with the way he played despite not scoring.

"Going through the Olympics is obviously a little bit of a struggle, but I felt like I played decent and had enough chances to put up some good numbers," he said. "It just didn't happen that way. I'm actually, if you can believe it, excited where my game is, where I can improve and get better."

With 22 games to play starting Thursday night at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, the Hawks will need Kane to be at his best if they are going to catch St. Louis in the Central Division.

Toews is ready to get back at it after winning gold for the second time. Now he's thinking of a third Stanley Cup with the Hawks.

"I guess it's hard to say it any differently than I've said it," Toews said. "Every time you have a chance to win, you don't want to pass it up. I think the same goes for the rest of this year and the opportunity we have.

"As well as we've played as a team this year, the number of Olympians we had, it's been a great season so far. We want to keep that momentum going and play well going into the playoffs. The goal is always the same."

Toews refuses to take his many accomplishments for granted. He has won two Stanley Cups and 2 Olympic gold medals, and he's still just 25.

"I guess it's kind of hard to believe now," he said. "It seems to be adding up a little bit. But every time you're there, you don't feel surprised to have a chance to win and be a part of a team like that.

"The first opportunity to make the team and to win in Vancouver was amazing. Being back there was just trying to find a way to repeat that. It was such a different experience being over there and a different style of game and all the different things you can talk about and how different the Olympics were.

"But it was a lot of fun. It was amazing to be in a different circumstance and win that tournament again."

• In a minor trade Wednesday, the Hawks acquired defenseman Brian Connelly from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for forward Brad Winchester. Connelly will report directly to Rockford.

• Follow Tim's Blackhawks and hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone.

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