Patrick Sharp didn’t leave Team Canada much of a choice.
Sharp, second in the league in goals and seventh in points, was one of 10 Blackhawks to be chosen by their native countries to play in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next month. Sharp will join Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith on Team Canada, which announced its roster this morning after months of fevered speculation. Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford were left off the Canadian roster.
Earlier in the day, Sweden chose all three Swedish Hawks — Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger, the latter two of whom were on the bubble. Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus were picked by Slovakia. Patrick Kane of the United States and Michal Handzus of the Czech Republic already had been named to their teams.
Sharp has been one of the most hotly debated players since the season began. Thought to be on the bubble — and likely on the outside looking in — when the season began, Sharp’s torrid play this season forced Canada GM Steve Yzerman’s hand.
Sharp made no secret of his desire to play for Team Canada after being left off the 2010 squad, but repeatedly downplayed how heavy it weighed on him, and how much it motivated him.
“My priority right now is the Hawks, and that’s the way it’s been all season,” he said earlier in the week. “But you hear stuff about yourself as a player, and that kind of motivates you, so there’s a little extra incentive to play well.”
Here is Team Canada’s roster:
GOALIES: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith
DEFENSEMEN: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
FORWARDS: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rich Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews