Patrick Kane experienced the roller-coaster ride of a lifetime when he last donned a Team USA sweater.
The Blackhawks winger helped the United States reach the gold medal game of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver only to watch as Canada prevailed 3-2 in overtime on a Sidney Crosby goal that capped what many believe is the greatest hockey game ever played.
“Definitely a lot of highs and lows in that game,” Kane said Wednesday of the Feb. 28, 2010 showdown during which he assisted on both U.S. scores. “It was amazing after we tied it up, it feels like you’re on top of the world and the gold is in your back pocket and they come back to score and rip your heart out. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Kane will have an opportunity for more Olympic memories as the Buffalo native was announced Wednesday as a player for the U.S. in February at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. Team USA’s 25-man roster was unveiled after the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Hawks teammates Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy, who were among attendees at an Olympic orientation camp during the summer, were not selected so Kane will be the defending Stanley Cup champions’ lone American representative in a tournament that last time was among the highlights of Kane’s already storied career.
“If you look back at what happened, it was great for the sport and great for the game,” Kane said. “For me personally to be a part of that game was awesome. It was amazing just to see the people and the crowd after Canada won; grown men crying and hugging each other. Obviously, you wish you could have won the gold but it was still an amazing experience.”
While the loss, which came only after Zach Parise scored with 24.4 seconds left in regulation to bring the U.S. all the way back from a 2-0 deficit, stung Kane for a long time, he has moved on.
“I’m kind of over it now,” Kane said. “It’s four years ago. It’s something that’s in the past. It’s a new chapter with a new team and a new place and new competition too. I’ve wiped the slate clean.”
At 25, Kane has a wealth of experience since then, including winning two Cups and being awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player during the Hawks’ playoff run to the title in ’13. Kane believes he can be in a leadership role with Team USA during the tournament that runs from Feb. 12-23.
“I’ve played a lot of hockey and played with some high-level level competition with the Stanley Cup playoffs and playing in the Olympics before,” Kane said. “I have a little bit of a grasp of what can happen.”
Saad, from Pittsburgh, and Leddy, from Eden Prairie, Minn., were in the running through much of the selection process, according to Hawks general manager Stan Bowman, a member of the USA selection committee.
“They’re young kids,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Saad and Leddy. “The upside is going to be there for them.”
In a statement, Team USA general manager David Poile said: “We went through a very thorough process to get to (Wednesday) and could not be happier with the team we’ve selected. We’re fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we’ve ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions. In the end, however, we’re confident we’ve selected a group of players that puts us in the best position to have success in Sochi.”