After months of speculation, the San Jose Sharks learned that Antti Niemi (Finland), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Canada), Patrick Marleau (Canada) and Joe Pavelski (USA) will represent their respective countries in what many athletes consider the highest honor.
Realistically, the San Jose contingent could have been much larger, potentially doubling in size—or more—if not for injuries. Instead, San Jose’s four Olympians put the Sharks among the bottom half of the league’s teams in terms of number of representatives.
Injuries to Tomas Hertl, Martin Havlat and Dan Boyle all but eliminated their selection, and Logan Couture, at one time considered a virtual lock, made headlines as one of the biggest snubs. While not considered a favorite, Sharks captain Joe Thornton’s strong play led many to believe he'd find his way onto Canada’s roster as well.
But as many have noted, Olympic selections can be considered a blessing or a curse, and you won’t find many in the Sharks’ contingent complaining about those left off rosters. While the Olympics are undoubtedly a special opportunity, San Jose’s goal remains the same, as the team has its eyes squarely focused on something silver rather than gold.
Let’s take a look at the roles and concerns for each of San Jose’s representatives.