7 Ducks returned from Sochi, 5 of them with medals. But all 7 had successful tournaments, in fact, one could argue that the 2 who didn't medal had just as good a tournament, if not better, than the 5 who did. I'll start with the non-medal winners, and then work my way from Bronze to Gold. I will also give a quick injury update at the end (players got healthy over the break!) and mention some roster moves.
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Jonas Hiller was the Swiss netminder and did all that he could for that team. Switzerland did not make it to the quarter finals, instead they lost to Latvia, and Hiller did everything but score for his team. In the 3 games he played, he let in only 2 goals, both in the loss to Latvia, and pitched a shutout in his 2 other appearances. So even though Hiller didn't even make it to the quarter finals, he still played great in Sochi and had goals against average of 0.67 and a save percentage of .971, just amazing numbers for him. Hopefully he can continue his strong play in Anaheim as the Ducks get back on the ice Friday night.
Cam Fowler helped the US to a 4th place finish in Sochi, certainly not a bad final result, but the US being shutout in its final 2 games did give the end of the tournament a sour taste, especially the 5-0 loss to Finland. Fowler played in every US game and scored 1 goal and had no assists. While his offensive production wasn't great, that goal was scored on the powerplay against Russia and was huge moment in that game for the team. Despite Fowler's lack of offense, he was still setting up plays in the offensive zone and pinching at the appropriate time. I can think of only 1 play where he chose the wrong time to pinch and led to a 2 on 1 against the US. He played great on the defensive end of the ice and handled himself well against the superstars on the Russians and Canadians. Fowler finished the tournament with a +4 rating and was a minus player in only 1 game, against the Finns. His game has come along way this year and the Olympics really showed how far he has come.
Sami Vatanen came home with a Bronze Medal after helping Finland defeat the USA. He did not score a goal but he did have 5 assists, which led all defenseman. 3 of them came against Austria in his 1st Olympic game. He looked deadly in the offensive zone, especially on Finland's powerplay where he helped set up chance after chance.
Teemu Selanne had a fantastic time in his final Olympic tournament, in fact, he was the best Duck player in Sochi. He scored 4 goals and added 2 assists and was named the tournament MVP in leading Finland to the Bronze Medal. He was one of the major catalysts in their offense and was a great leader for the team. His best game came against the US when he scored 2 goals, including the gamewinning goal. He also had the gamewinning goal when Finland knocked Russia out of the Olympics in the quarterfinals. He has struggled in Anaheim this season, his age finally catching up to him, but he proved that in a short tournament he can still produce at a high level. Hopefully he can keep playing well down the stretch drive and kick his game back up to this level when the playoffs roll around.
Jakob Silfverberg won the Silver Medal playing for Team Sweden, but he wasn't a huge contributor for them. He finished with only 1 assist, which he picked up against Latvia. He didn't get a lot of playing time, surpassing the 10 minute mark only twice, against Latvia and Slovenia. I was hoping for more from him in Sochi, but it looks he was the teams 13th forward and he didn't do enough to get more playing time. He hasn't been the same since his early season injury and I was hoping the Olympics would be a good chance for his game to rebound. Sadly, it looks like that didn't happen, but hopefully he can get things going again in Anaheim in the near future.
Once again Canada took home the gold, and once again Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were on the team, but they didn't contribute much offensively this time around. Perry especially seemed to struggle with the larger ice surface and finished with only 1 assist. That being said his game did improve the later the tournament went on and he registered 5 shots in 2 of his final 3 games. He'll need to play much better for the Ducks as the season resumes. Getzlaf didn't have a great tournament but he did manage to pick a shorthanded goal and 2 assists in the tournament. The best part about his game was that he was very good in the faceoff circle and only once (against Austria) did he win less than 50% of his draws. Hopefully he can keep winning faceoffs in Anaheim, an area of his game that has suffered lately for the Ducks captain.
And that was the Olympics went for the 7 Ducks who went to Sochi. 5 medals were brought back, and a 6th player finished in 4th place. All in all, a very good Olympics for the Ducks, with most of the players playing key rolls for their teams. And, even more importantly, all 7 players have returned healthy.
The Olympic break helped several Ducks recover from injuries sustained before the Winter Olympics began. Defenseman Mark Fistric has said that the rest has helped him recover from a lower body injury. Center Nick Bonino has pronounced himself healthy and ready to go. And goalie Viktor Fasth has finally healed enough to get back into game action and has since been assigned to Norfolk on a conditioning assignment. With all of these players coming back healthy, Vatanen has been reasigned to Norfolk. But I wouldn't expect him to be there for long. Next week is the trade deadline, and after that I believe the roster limit will be lifted and I expect to see him back in Anaheim shortly after that, unless the Ducks pick up a defender or 2.
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