RALEIGH, N.C. -- With the 2014 Sochi Olympics less than eight weeks away, players around the NHL are awaiting their fate.
There will be just a handful of locks for Canada, which will announce its roster Jan. 7. Many of the remaining players will hope for a favorable reading of their resume. Take Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. He won a gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, and he produces at a 70-point pace every NHL season.
"For me, knowing the type of players we have in Canada, you don't take anything for granted," Staal said after practice Tuesday.
The list of options at center is deep for Canada. Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron all figure into the conversation. That's why Staal doesn't sound like he's offering false humility when he considers his chances.
"You've got to make sure you're playing good hockey and doing the right things on the ice, playing a structured two-way game, because that's what is successful," Staal said. "So no, you don't take anything for granted. You don't expect to be there. You have to perform, and that goes for anybody."
Then Staal laughs and makes one exception.
"Besides maybe Sid," he said.