SAN JOSE – Despite being a part of the gold medal-winning Team Canada in 2010, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau was not invited to his country’s Olympic orientation camp in August.
According to Canadian network TSN, though, Marleau has worked his way into the thick of the conversation for the games in Sochi, Russia thanks to a strong start to the 2013-14 season. Marleau has 30 points (14g, 16a) in 31 games, tying him for 12th in the NHL in scoring. He’s been paired with Olympic-lock Logan Couture for the entire season, on a line that is routinely matched up against the other team’s best players on a nightly basis.
Marleau admitted that he’s used the snub as motivation, headed into a season in which he’s a pending unrestricted free agent.
“Yeah, definitely. You want to be considered one of the elites, and have people recognize that,” Marleau said. “That’s one of the things I’ve thought about.”
“I was disappointed. I would have liked to be part of that [orientation] group, but then, I guess, [you] maybe refocus and get back at work and try and come out and have a good start.”
Marleau was unaware of TSN’s latest projections, which also includes Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Boyle as being on the team.
“That’s nice and all, but I think there’s a lot of hockey left,” Marleau said. “Right now, the focus is on playing well, obviously, and helping [the Sharks]. Hopefully, that leads to being selected.”
Couture said: “I think a lot of players on our team deserve a spot there. But, it’s a tough country to pick for. I definitely wouldn’t want to be the guy picking the team; a lot of pressure. But, there are a lot of guys on this team who deserve to be there.”
It’s impossible for Marleau to not ponder the possibility of once again representing his country on the biggest stage. In 2010, he had two goals and three assists for five points in seven games in Vancouver.
“Yeah, you think about it. You want to be playing well, that’s the biggest thing, game in and game out. By you doing well and the team doing well, it usually leads to better things," he said.
The deadline for the final roster, to be chosen by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and his Hockey Canada staff, is Jan, 7, 2014. Canada’s 25-man roster will likely include 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders.