As discussed yesterday, there are a handful of dynamic young players in the Western Conference Final who won Stanley Cups very early in their NHL careers in Drew Doughty, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
There are also eight players named to the rosters of the two teams that competed in the 2010 Olympic gold medal game – Mike Richards, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook represented Canada, while Dustin Brown, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Quick were on the United States team.
Clearly there are players whose development has been catalyzed not only by virtue of winning a Stanley Cup so early in their careers, but also by playing in the championship game of the most prestigious international tournament.
Brown was 25 years old at the time of the United States – Canada game in 2010, and skated on a line at times with the then-21-year-old Kane.
Dustin Brown, on what he remembers about Patrick Kane as a teammate:
“He was a young guy. Still is a young guy. I played with him for probably the second half of that tournament. He’s pretty relaxed, regardless of the situation, and I think he’s one of those guys that likes playing in the important games. That’s probably what I took away from the Olympics, playing with him. I didn’t really know him well even though he was from Buffalo, and we just probably missed each other by the age gap a little bit. He seems – regardless of the situation – he’s a pretty laid back kid.”
Doughty, who was 20-years-old when he won a gold medal, spoke of the focus he remembered from the then-21-year-old Toews.
Drew Doughty, on Jonathan Toews’ focus and leadership:
“He’s a great leader. He always seems serious, too. He kind of has that Yzerman-type of look where he’s just always on the ball, always ready to go. He’s going to be tough to shut down this series, but we’ve got to do it if we want to win.”
Doughty, on where Toews’ compete level ranks:
“He’s up there at the top. I don’t really know who to compare him to, but he’s tough to play against. He’s strong. He plays really well defensively. He plays hard defensively, too. Down low, he’s a battle to play against. He takes the puck to the net hard and I don’t think as many players do that these days as they used to. So he’s always a threat when he’s on the ice, and he’s going to be tough to play against. He’s their captain for a reason, and he leads them really well.”