With the announcements of the Olympic hockey rosters for Canada, Sweden and Norway on Tuesday, seven Rangers representing four countries will be playing in Sochi in February.
Rick Nash (Canada), Henrik Lundqvist and Carl Hagelin (Sweden) and Mats Zuccarello (Norway) were selected. Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan were named to Team USA on New Year's Day.
"I slept easy, I wasn't worried about it," said Nash, who played in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. "I would have been disappointed if I wasn't named, but I would have moved on pretty fast. Lucky enough, I got the nod to play, so I'm pretty excited."
The left wing had two goals and three assists in seven games when Canada won the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010. Nash, who was born in Brampton, Ontario, recalled that the pressure was intense.
"I don't think it got bigger than last time in our home country, with our home sport and kind of finishing seventh at Torino and everybody expecting gold, it was definitely the most pressure I've felt," Nash said. "Any time you strap on the red and white maple leaf, it seems like it's gold or nothing. Everyone wants gold, and that's the only thing that's acceptable to Canada. It's a huge deal."
Nash, who played for HC Davos in Switzerland during the last two NHL lockouts, said the Winter Games are bigger than many people think.
"It's not just an ice hockey tournament," Nash said. "It's the Olympics, it's all these different sports and all these best athletes in the world competing at all winter sports. As far as a hockey standpoint, it's tough. There's a certain amount of games where it feels like every single game is a Game 7."
It also will be the third Olympics for Lundqvist, who won gold in 2006 when he was 5-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average for Sweden. He played in Russia in the World Junior Championships and in tournaments with his junior team, Frolunda.
For Hagelin, the speedy left wing who attended Michigan, it will be his first Olympics, although he skated in the World Juniors in 2008 for Sweden. "It's definitely going to give me a lot of experience with and against the best players in the world," Hagelin said.
Zuccarello, who leads the Rangers in scoring with 30 points, will be the only NHL player representing Norway. He had a goal and two assists in four games in the 2010 Games.