Staal's move to the wing could prove timely for Olympic team selection
Posted December 29, 2009
Team Canada's Olympic hockey roster will be announced on Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time. It was approximately 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday when Eric Staal completed his compelling reminder to his homeland that he belongs on that list.
"It was the last game before the announcement, I don't think one game can really make a huge difference," Staal told 99.9 FM The Fan on Tuesday.
"But, at the same time, it can't hurt," added the 25 year old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Staal faces some pretty stiff competition. Superstar NHL'ers Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Rick Nash and Jerome Iginla are just a handful of the Canadian forwards considered locks by the collective Canadian media.
The Carolina Hurricanes' perennial All-Star admits that a Team Canada selection is never far from his thoughts.
"I think it's on your mind," says Staal. "You try not to let it affect you, and try not to let that outside pressure get to you. Because, there's nothing you can really do. It's just about playing good hockey for your club team, and letting everything else take care of itself."
Meanwhile, Staal has played most of his last four periods with the Canes at a new position. This may show the Team Canada officials that the 6'4'' forward has more versatility on the ice than they were aware of.
With five points in Carolina's win at Washington on Monday night, Staal is settling into his new position at right wing.
"It feels good, right now," Staal tells The Insiders.
"A little bit different, but I feel pretty comfortable on the right side."