Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes having their game against the Buffalo Sabres postponed due to hazardous weather conditions, the Canadian Olympic team was announced. This team did not include Eric Staal.
While the Hurricanes’ captain has skated on the 2010 gold medal team, as well as the 2013 IIHF Championship team for his native Canada, his name was not on the list on Tuesday afternoon. There is nothing that guarantees any one player a spot on any one team; the formula by which a nation picks their team is often fuzzy and sometimes nonexistent. While a player may really want to be on their nation’s team, it doesn’t always end up that way.
After the announcement, Staal reportedly expressed his huge disappointment saying “Does it feel good to be left off the team? No. Do I feel I’m good enough to be on the team? Yes. I feel I’ve proven that…” later adding, “Do I think they made a mistake? I hope to prove that. They went a different way. That’s life.”
While Staal may be a little bummed out about missing the Olympics, it really doesn’t warrant a public belly-ache like he unleashed. If he was upset, he may have had a right to be. What he did not need to do was rant to the press about it. It wasn’t like he was on a phone call with a buddy, he was speaking to a writer from the News & Observer whose status as “press” is widely known.
Why Staal was left off of the Canadian team is known only to the people who picked said team. It could be because he’s skating at a minus-15 this season, his 8.7 percent shooting percentage, or his 48 penalty minutes. While Staal is doing well lately, his stats are pretty south of ‘acceptable.’
Or it could be his outburst late in the third period of the Dec. 31 game against the Montreal Canadiens.
After taking an admittedly questionable Boarding penalty in a close game, Staal took it upon himself to scream at the officials, slam his stick against the glass, then throw it down in the penalty box as he continued to chirp at the linesman. Was he frustrated? Sure he was. Did he have a right to be? Maybe. Does a tantrum like that fly in the Olympics? Absolutely not. Canada doesn’t need a hot-head on the squad, and if Staal is in an intense place right now as the Hurricanes surge, he could be a liability.
There’s no telling why he was left off the roster, but to complain loudly and to the press just embarrasses Staal and — as a captain– sets a bad example for the rest of the team.