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‘Canes captain Staal ‘bitter’ about Canadian Olympic omission

Jan 9, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT

estaalgetty Getty Images

Eric Staal helped Canada win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but wasn’t selected to defend it at the ’14 games in Sochi — a decision, he says, that’s left a sour taste in his mouth.

“To be honest, my gut feeling, yeah I’m bitter about it,” Staal told Sportsnet on Thursday. “Being there last time and knowing what it takes to win a gold and feeling like I was a good contributor to the group and someone that brings it when it counts—especially the end—I wanted that opportunity again.”

Staal, 29, has been a pretty loyal soldier to the Canadian national team over the years. In addition the ’10 Olympics, he’s played in three World Championships — including the 2013 tournament, in which he served as team captain (and was taken out at the knee by Sweden/Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler.)

Staal also served on Canada’s “taxi squad” for the 2006 Olympics in Turin.

A left-handed center that moved to wing in Vancouver, Staal was beat out by the likes of Patrick Sharp, Patrick Marleau, Chris Kunitz and Matt Duchene for a spot on this year’s team (Canada’s centers are Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron and John Tavares.)

Staal acknowledged how much talent there was ahead of him on the team, and — given he’s not having a great year (35 points in 42 games, minus-15) and is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury — was realistic about the situation.

“I’m obviously disappointed, but sometimes that’s what life throws at you,” he said. “It’s all about how you respond. That’s the way it goes and I don’t want to make excuses.”

  1. wembelievable - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Anyone who remotely follows E Staals career would know that come playoff time (a rarity in Carolina) he ALWAYS delivers, he is money in crunch time. He is better than Benn, Nash, and Kunitz. And to top it off he always is there for team Canada, even getting hurt in last years worlds. Can’t wait until Canada lays an egg in Sochi

    • stepanup - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      He’s always overlooked. He put up over a point/game last year in the regular season and who actually noticed?

    • hockey412 - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      He’s like a negative 100 this year. Nothing but respect for him, but his performance THIS YEAR probably made it hard to pull him in.

  2. sharknad0 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    He’s not exactly the same Staal he was 4 years ago, let’s be honest here. Still a great player tho, I would have picked him over Kunitz 100%, that guy did not deserve to make the team.

    • lonespeed - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      He currently leads his team in points, as he does every year. Anytime you lead an NHL team in points, especially one in playoff position, you have to be doing something right…don’t ya think?

      Just because the ‘Canes aren’t on television every week doesn’t mean they don’t have quality players. Look up the facts before you spout off. Oh, and by the way….Staal is not even 30 yet. He’s probably still got six very good seasons left in him, if not more.

      Not a winner? His name is on the Stanley Cup and he already has a gold medal from four-years ago.

  3. wembelievable - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Me takes some flack for not being as good during the regular season but I’ll take him in the playoffs any day. The other issue specifically this year has been him taking too many penalties, many out I frustration

  4. multiplemiggs - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I know tue feeling. For some odd reason I was left off the team too. Just go drink a few beers, jerk off, watch a movie and sleep it off.

  5. penguins87and71 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    The problem with Staal and even Giroux was team Canada is very deep at center. I think that Giroux and Staal should have made it. Giroux over Nash and Staal over Carter.

  6. wembelievable - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Except that Staal played wing in 2010 on team Canada, so just because Canada is deep at center does not matter in this case.

  7. hockeyflow33 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    I never heard his name come up once during any point of the selection process.

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