As of Monday afternoon, five Chicago Blackhawks representatives have played three games for their countries at the IIHF World Championship, held in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg). Below, a summary of how each player has fared thus far:
Artemi Panarin (RUS): Panarin was one of Russia’s standouts at Worlds last year, and after a rocky start overall for the team, the 2016 Calder Trophy finalist has picked up where he left off while skating on the second line with Yevgeni Dadonov and Vadim Shipachyov. In a 3-0 tournament-opening loss to the Czech Republic, Panarin led team forwards with 19:42 of ice time, but he was forced to exit Sunday’s 6-4 win over Kazakhstan after sustaining an injury in the second period. Making a quick recovery, Panarin played a part in all of Russia’s output in a 4-0 win over Latvia on Monday, tallying twice and adding two assists on goals by his linemates; he was named Best Player of the game.
Tyler Motte (USA): Motte began the tournament alongside his University of Michigan compatriots Kyle Connor and J.T. Compher, but a 5-1 loss to Canada on Day 1 has resulted in changes to the lineup, meaning Motte and Compher have been joined by USA captain Matt Hendricks to form a checking trio for the last two tilts. Motte has also taken his customary shifts on the penalty kill, and he picked up an assist in a 6-3 win over Belarus on Saturday.
Vincent Hinostroza (USA): Hinostroza has provided valuable depth for Team USA thus far in the tournament, skating mostly on the fourth line while chipping in on some power-play shifts, but he’s made the most of his ice time. The 2012 sixth-round pick stood out in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Belarus, contributing two assists, including a nifty feed across the slot on a goal by Noah Hanifin. Despite skating only 11:26 in the contest, Hinostroza was named Best Player of the game.
Erik Gustafsson (SWE): Gustafsson, who made both his AHL and NHL debuts last season, has skated with veteran blueliner Johan Fransson on Sweden’s second pairing and has also featured on the team’s top power-play unit. On Monday against the Czechs, Gustafsson contributed his first point of the tournament with a power-play assist in a 4-2 loss.
Ville Pokka (FIN): Playing alongside fellow youngster Esa Lindell, with whom he won World Juniors gold in 2014, Pokka has been a steady presence on the blue line as Finland tries to complete the trifecta of gold medals at IIHF events, having won the U20 and U18 competitions earlier this year. The 21-year-old, who was named Rockford’s Defenseman of the Year after posting 45 points (10G, 35A) while appearing in all 76 regular-season games, notched an assist in Finland’s 5-1 win over Germany on Sunday for his first point of the tourney.