10 Blackhawks will play in the men's hockey tournament in the Sochi… (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago…)
The talent on the Blackhawks roster is undeniable.
The team has hoisted two Stanley Cups in four years, and now 10 of its players are headed to Russia to play in the Olympics. Five countries will be represented by the Blackhawks: the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
RedEye caught up with eight of them ahead of their inevitable head-to-head battles. Let the trash-talking begin.
What will you miss most about Chicago while in Sochi?
Patrick Sharp (Canada): The food for sure, television, and my kids. They're not going to go over there with me. It'll be tough to wake up every day without my girls.
Michal Rozsival (Czech Republic): I don't really know what it is like in Sochi but from what I've heard, it's going to be probably the good food around here. I definitely won't miss the cold weather right now.
Michal Handzus (Slovakia): I'm sure the family, but they will come over there too. Then, the city, the restaurants, obviously the teammates and the NHL.
Marian Hossa (Slovakia): My family. We just had a newborn, so it's going to be tough to travel there.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden): That's going to be the food. I love all the restaurants ... in the city. It's unbelievable.
Marcus Kruger (Sweden): I don't really know how it's going to be there in Sochi. I haven't looked into that too much. But I'm sure I'm going to miss the people here, the friends I've got and all of this.
Johnny Oduya (Sweden): Restaurants, obviously. I've been to Russia a couple times and it's been good and bad experiences with restaurants. Obviously here you'll have the food at the Olympic Village so I will eat there. But at times it will be nice to maybe go somewhere else and have a nice meal.
Patrick Kane (USA): The first thing that comes to mind is probably the food.
Fighting on the ice during an Olympic game is _____.
Sharp: Not the smartest thing you could do.
Rozsival: It is illegal, I think, but it's something that on an international level you don't want to do.
Hossa: I'll skip this one.
Hjalmarsson: Not allowed, I guess.
Kruger: You probably get suspended. I'm not sure but I think it's … it's not a lot of fighting going on in Europe and it's more European rules there.
Oduya: Not allowed.
Kane: It's illegal.
When playing against your teammates, will you: A) Try not to hurt them B) Trash talk C) Gloat if you win or D) All of the above?
Sharp: All of the above. I was going to say B and C for sure, but I don't want to hurt anybody.
Rozsival: Probably D. A little bit of everything. It'll be just a little trash talk, but I figure it's going to be in a fun way.
Handzus: I never trash talk much. I don't hurt people so I try to beat them.
Hossa: Probably like in my games, none of them. Maybe just in a faceoff, I'll just joke a little bit, you know, and have fun a little bit with, let's say [we play] Kaner and Team USA. But no trash talk, nothing like that.
Hjalmarsson: I'll just do another option. Just win the game.
Kruger: Probably everything. D.
Oduya: I would probably gloat if I win.
Kane: Probably trash talk. That's what happened last time so I'm guessing it's going to happen this time.
Which Winter Olympics event are you dying to try and why?
Sharp: Not the bobsled or luge or skeleton; that's scary. Skiing is a little too fast for me too. I'd say speed skating is closest to home for me.
Rozsival: I like the bobsled. I haven't done it. It just looks kind of dangerous, a really high adrenaline sport, there's a lot of speed. I'd like to try that.
Handzus: I love skiing. So skiing would be fun.
Hossa: The cool thing about the Olympics is meeting lots of cool athletes who are there. I know it's going to be hard timewise, but I would definitely like to see some of the events.
Hjalmarsson: I've always liked sitting at home and watch[ing] cross-country skiing. I enjoy that, but I don't think it's that much fun to watch live standing out there in the cold. Live–maybe curling. Sweden's got a pretty good curling team. It's hard.
Kruger: I haven't done it for a long time now because I play hockey, but skiing downhill.
Oduya: I've tried curling before. I wasn't very good. And it was really cold. Maybe try to do that again and get a little bit better at it.
Kane: I guess my favorite event besides hockey would have to be the halfpipe in snowboarding. I used to ski. I've never snowboarded. I bet it'd be tough but I like watching it—the Flying Tomato, you know.
Do you speak Russian? Are there any words or phrases you will try to learn?
Sharp: Nope. I'm planning on sticking with the Canadian group of people over there.
Rozsival: A little bit, only a few words. Thank you. Spasibo [meaning "thank you" and pronounced spah-see-bah]. ... I know some swear words.
Handzus: Not much. I learned three years in school when I was young, but I forgot everything pretty much.
Hossa: I speak maybe just a few words.
Hjalmarsson: Not at all.
Kruger: Not really. I do know a couple terms. I know spasibo.
Oduya: I do not. Probably not, no.
Kane: No, I have no words. I better learn some.
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