Sochi 2014 Olympics: Max Pacioretty to Play for Team USA

Montreal Canadiens and Team USA left wing Max Pacioretty will play in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi despite being shaken up after he collided with the goal post in the Habs' last game before the Olympics against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Feb 11 2014, 5:44pm CST | by

Sochi 2014 Olympics: Max Pacioretty to Play for Team USA
Photo Credit: Getty Images

It looks like Max Pacioretty will suit up for Team USA in the 2014 Sochi Olympics after all

Some doubts surfaced about Pacioretty's status after he collided with the goal post during the Habs' last game before the Olympics on Feb. 8 against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, he seems to have shaken it off, per ESPN's Scott Burnside:

"Max Pacioretty, who was pushed awkwardly into the goal post during the Montreal Canadiens' final game before the Olympic break, showed no signs of being the worse for wear as he skated on a line with Team USA's Ryan Callahan and Paul Stastny during Monday's skate.

"Pacioretty collided with the post with 7:30 left in the first period Saturday after being checked by Brett Bellemore of the Carolina Hurricanes. And, for a moment, he thought it was bad

"'It was a little bit of a scare,' Pacioretty said Monday.'As soon as I got diagnosed during the game, I knew things were going to be okay. After I got the treatment I needed, had that been an important game, I probably would have been able to come back if it was late in the game. They decided to hold me out, and I'm thankful they did it in my best interests.'" 

Pacioretty went into more detail with Pat Hickey of The Montreal Gazette on Feb. 9: 

"I had trouble catching my breath. 

"It's a play I make often. I went in a little awkwardly and I dinged my arm and hip but I feel good now. 

"I was very worried at first. It was tough to breathe and I was having back spasms but I had x-rays but there was nothing broken. I had some treatments while the game was going on and I feel better, I was in a lot of pain but I could tell it was more muscular.

"I don't feel that bad right now and I have a couple of days before we start playing in Sochi." 

His head coach in Sochi, Pittsburgh Penguins mentor Dan Bylsma, told Burnside he was just as anxious when he found out about Pacioretty's predicament. 

"I heard the news before I saw it. I was a little more nervous when I saw how he went into the net. But shortly after, we already had word how he was doing. 

"It was good to hear that he was doing pretty well and then after the game that he'd be all right to continue on and get over here."

According to Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports, Pacioretty and the rest of his teammates on the United States' men's hockey team arrived in Sochi on Monday, Feb. 10 for their first practice. The 25-year-old Pacioretty, a first-time Olympian, told Wyshynski it's time to sacrifice for the greater good.  

"Obviously I'm like a deer in headlights when I see guys like that and I'm put on the same stage as them. But at the same time, I gotta play my game. You check your egos at the door. Everything you do right now is for the team. You have to play with more pride than ever before." 

Pacioretty, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals and 11 assists in the 2013-14 NHL season, should help Team USA in its bid for Olympic gold when it takes on Slovakia in its first game on Feb. 13 at 4:30 p.m. local time. 

 
 
 


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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