But pressure can be a motivator. So can a perceived snub by your hockey nation.
Here are 10 players that have thrived under that pressure, increasing their standing for Sochi roster spots or putting themselves on the radar for them.
The epitome of the Olympics-motivated player. Benn went from Team Canada camp “snub” a near point-per-game player (26 points in 30 games) with the Stars. His pace has slowed, with just two points in his last eight games, but he’s on the radar.
Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (USA)
Bishop took advantage of some struggles among his U.S. goaltending peers to play himself into the conversation for Sochi. He’s got a 2.05 GAA and a .931 save percentage; will he join Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller on the roster?
John Carlson, D, Washington Capitals (USA)
He’s been the Capitals best defenseman, but also fits what GM David Poile is looking for: a right-handed shot that also has international experience. And in Carlson’s case, that experience is as an American hero, ladies and gents.
Alex Galchenyuk, F, Montreal Canadiens (USA)
The Habs forward has 21 points in 31 games, which was enough to grab the attention of U.S. coach Dan Bylsma. Will it be enough to earn him a spot on the roster? Tougher to say, although the Americans could certainly use a bit more pop up the middle.
Josh Harding, G, Minnesota Wild (Canada)
Talk about exceeding expectations: Harding has managed to become a Vezina candidate and quiet talk about his battle with M.S. this season, while playing well enough to make the conversation about Canada's third goalie.
Kyle Okposo, RW, New York Islanders (USA)
Poile said that the Islanders winger played himself into contention with an uncharacteristic fast start, and he hasn’t let up with four goals in his last six games. He has international tournament experience and the U.S. has room on the right side for him. Speaking of which …
Jason Pominville, RW, Minnesota Wild (USA)
Talk about defiance: The most significant snub from the USA camp has potted 15 goals in 33 games for the Wild, making a strong case for inclusion on a team that needs all the goal scoring it can find. Also, he was born in Canada and can tell us their secrets.
Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens (Canada)
Roberto Luongo has the gold medal and the Olympic experience; Price has the Vezina-worthy season and stellar numbers, including a .933 save percentage. Some say he’s earned the job. This man is not one of those people.
P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens (Canada)
After months of unparalleled scrutiny of his game – it must be because he’s so “brash” - the Norris Trophy winner’s stock is finally on the rise. Throughout the process, Subban has said all the right things and played well, alleviating concerns about his defensive zone play.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, San Jose Sharks (Canada)
Vlasic has been outstanding for the San Jose Sharks, but more importantly for Team Canada is that he’s a left-handed shot whose play has separated him from a pack of other contenders. His play has put Team Canada's management in a real ... uh, bind.
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