8 Sharks players going for gold in Vancouver

Eight San Jose Sharks players are playing in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

February 15, 2010 9:04:52 PM PST
The National Hockey League shuts down for two weeks during the Olympics, and the San Jose Sharks have eight players representing five different countries in men's hockey.

In a country where the national pastime is hockey, four Sharks are feeling the pressure from Canadian fans all but demanding Olympic gold.

"There's a lot of heat, there's a lot of pressure, but it's going to be fun," Dany Heatley with Team Canada said.

Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau are all representing Canada.

"You're playing for everyone in your country, so you're wearing the flag on your chest and that's who you're playing for," Patrick Marleau with Team Canada said. "That's just a huge honor."

"Having it be in Vancouver is a real special thing on top of going to the Olympics itself," Heatley said. "It's always an honor to play for your country and it's going to be a good time."

The Canadians better watch out for Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray on the ice for Sweden.

"To me it's extra special with my grandfather having played and being the captain on the Swedish national team, so I guess I grew up with a lot of pride," Douglas Murray with Team Sweden said.

These eight teammates will be facing each other to defend their national pride.

"We compete every day in practice against each other, so to be in a live game situation with the intensity cranked up, it will be pretty fun," Joe Pavelski with Team USA said.

Coaches throughout the NHL are worried about their pros getting injured.

"There is risk involved in it, but we're prepared as a league and as an organization and team to take that risk and reward the players with the opportunity to represent their country," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.

McLellan is rooting for all his players, but only one country.

"Cheering for a lot of individuals and probably when it's all said and done, cheer for the country a little bit north of us," he said.

Have they thought about the possibility of winning a gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the next year? "Let's not jinx it," Evgeni Nabokov with Team Russia said.