The Chicago Blackhawks are sending ten current players to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but 10 former Hawks will be lacing up the skates, as well.
The list is a mix of established NHL players and players not cut out for playing in the premier league in the world. Of the 10 heading to Sochi, four were Blackhawks draft picks, and four have won a Stanley Cup wearing the Indian head sweater.
Without further ado, let’s look at and enjoy (or cringe) at the names that should be familiar to Chicago Blackhawks fans once the round-robin tournament starts February 12.
Michal Barinka (Czech Republic): Barinka was a 2nd round pick, 59th overall of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He was apart of the 2006 trade that brought Martin Havlat to Chicago. Barinka had a whopping one assist in 25 games on the west side. The 29-year old plays for Vitkovic HC in the Czech Extraliga.
Milan Bartovic (Slovakia): Bartovic is another former Hawks playing in Europe, for Bratislava Slovan of the Kontinental Hockey League. He was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in 2005 for goaltender Michael Leighton. Leighton is known for giving up the Cup-clinching goal to Patrick Kane during game six of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.
Alexander Salak (Czech Republic): Salak was acquired in the same trade that brought Michael Frolik to Chicago in 2011. Salak never played a game for the Chicago Blackhawks, and currently is a goalie for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL.
Michael Frolik (Czech Republic): Frolik played parts of three seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning a Cup with them in 2013. His high salary and current role with the team made him expendable. The current Winnipeg Jet has helped shore up a pretty bad penalty kill unit.
Tuomo Ruutu (Finalnd): Ruutu was the 9th overall pick for Chicago of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He played four seasons before being moved to Carolina for Andrew Ladd. Ruutu’s injury history has derailed what could have been a solid career for the power forward. The 30-year old has played only three seasons in which he was in 75 games or more.
Petri Kontiola (Finland): While his cup of coffee with the Hawks showed little, Kontiola was nearly a point-per-game player for Rockford in two seasons. Kontiola was traded with James Wisniewski to Anaheim for Samuel Pahlsson. He has played the last four seasons in the KHL.
Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia): Kopecky was one of six Blackhawks who played in the 2010 Winter Olympics and Stanley Cup winning team. He was a cap casualty following the 2010 season and was sent to Florida for a 7th round pick.
Sami Lepisto (Finland): Lepisto was an oft-used defenseman who played one season in Chicago before heading overseas for the 2012-13 season. He is a current member of Lev Prague in the KHL.
Lasse Kukkonen (Finland): Kukkonen’s first name is pronounced just like the famous collie. The 32-year old played two seasons for Chicago before being traded for Kyle Calder. Calder was on his second go-round with the Chicago Blackhawks. Kukkonen played three seasons for Philadelphia before heading to the KHL in 2009.
Antti Niemi (Finland): Niemi was the unknown goalie who helped lead the Blackhawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. Since his departure via free agency, Niemi has been one of the better netminders in the world. While he has yet to capture another Cup, he has yet to miss the playoffs during his four year NHL career.
There has been an interesting mix of players to ply their craft in Chicago. That being said, boo them mercilessly since none of them are Canadian or American.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @sckih_ffej for more sports and entertainment ramblings. Jeff also contributes fantasy advice for The Fantasy Fix.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks