Steve Stamkos believes he can play for Team Canada in the Sochi Olympics regardless of whether has a comeback game in the NHL beforehand.
The speedy center says that he would love to make a return from a fractured tibia injury in time to get some on-ice preparation for the Olympics, but he knows he can play in Sochi either way.
Originally the idea was that Stamkos would require a couple of games in the NHL to get up to speed so that a decision on his Olympic participation could be made.
However, now he's offered up an alternative scenario.
"The objective is to play a game [in the NHL], that would be something I would really love to do," Stamkos said to a throng of media at the Air Canada Centre.
"But if that's not the case, there's going to be another discussion about whether or not I'm still going to be on that team if I can't play a game. We've had brief discussions about that, it's more or less been 'We'll cross that bridge when [if] we need to."
The Tampa Bay Lightning player has the advantage of having the same team coach as the Canadian national team, which means proving his fitness may be easier.
"If we have to sit down a couple of days before we have to leave for the Olympics, we can be honest with each other," Stamkos said of his chat with coach Steve Yzerman.
"If I say that I'm at the level I think I need to be at to compete at the Olympics, I think he's going to have the trust in me that I can go over there and play at that level. But at the end of the day, I have to be honest with him. If I say I'm not ready, obviously I'm not going to go."