The 2010 Winter Olympic Games are right around the corner, providing an opportunity for the Canadian Men's hockey team to avenge the 2006 disappointment. Early training camp began in August with a meet and greet as well as ice skating and scrimages.
Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman said the 23-man team won’t necessarily be chosen from those attending, although all the 2002 and 2006 Olympians were at the orientation camp. “We spent a lot of time, had a lot of discussion,” Yzerman said. “What we’ve tried to do is build a list and cover all of the aspects that this team will be made up of.”
Among those not selected for the Aug. 24-27 camp in Calgary are forwards Steve Stamkos, injured forwards Marc Savard and Jason Spezza, goaltenders Chris Osgood, Carey Price and Marty Turco and defenseman Brian Campbell.
Steve Stamkos in particular is lighting the lamp on a regular basis. Amassing an impressive 23 goals and 46 points as a rookie for Tampa Bay last season, Stamkos has exploded offensively this season to the tune of 11 goals and 5 assists for 16 points early in the season.
“Stamkos was a guy we debated down to the last minute,” Yzerman said during a conference call. “He’ll be a player I’ll watch this fall.”
The 2006 team that largely disappointed in Turin, Italy was composed mostly of players who returned from the gold medal-winning team in Salt Lake City four years before. Wayne Gretzky, the executive director of both teams, was criticized for leaning too heavily on older players in Italy and not including younger stars such as Crosby, one of the NHL’s leading scorers as a rookie that season, and defenseman Dion Phaneuf of Calgary.
There will be numerous younger players in Calgary, including Crosby, Chicago forward Jonathan Toews, Columbus goalie Steve Mason, Boston forward Milan Lucic and Pittsburgh forward Jordan Staal. Nineteen players are 25 or younger.
Among those invited are four players each from the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers. The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins are represented by Crosby, Staal and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
The players invited are:
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Roberto Luongo, Vancouver; Cam Ward, Carolina; Fleury and Mason.
Defensemen: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings; Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks; Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers; Robyn Regehr, Calgary Flames; Mike Green, Washington Capitals; Francois Beauchemin, Toronto Maple Leafs; Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary; Dan Boyle, San Jose; Brent Burns, Minnesota; Dan Hamhuis, Nashville; Duncan Keith, Chicago; Stephane Robidas, Dallas; Brent Seabrook, Chicago; Shea Weber, Nashville, Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames and Marc Staal, New York Rangers.
Forwards: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames; Vinny Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning; Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets; Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks; Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers; Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres; Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks; Ryan Smyth, ColoradoAvanlanche; Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers; Dan Cleary, Detroit Red Wings; Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes; Simon Gagne, Philadelphia Flyers; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks; Dany Heatley, San Jose Sharks; Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks; Andy McDonald, St. Louis Blues; Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars; Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins; Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes; Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins and Jonathon Toews, Chicago Blackhawks.