- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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It tells you a lot about the progression of Andrew Ladd’s career that he was invited to Canada's Olympic camp last month.
The Winnipeg Jets' captain continues to push his game to new heights and really turned heads with his game last season.
"It was another step in my career and hopefully I can keep elevating and get to be one of the top guys in the league," said Ladd.
He was among the Blackhawks’ salary-cap discards after helping the team win the Cup in 2010. Now he’s a Team Canada camp invite. That tells you where his game has gone in just a few years.
"It’s something that maybe earlier on my career I thought was a pipe dream," Ladd said of making Team Canada. "But the last couple of years, I’ve made it a goal of mine to put myself in contention for that team."
He’s a wild card to make Team Canada given all the big names that are in play. But it’s the kind of game he plays that makes him an interesting choice.
"I don’t think I’m a guy that his whole game is surrounded by scoring and offense; I think there’s more to my game," said Ladd. "That’s where it started, playing a strong, 200-foot game and being detailed. That’s how I would make that team. I’ll just focus on that."
Eberle's Olympic dream
Oilers star forward Jordan Eberle wants to make Team Canada badly, but he’s not going to give himself added pressure every night in thinking Olympic management is watching.
"It's tough to go into a game and say, 'If I play well tonight, maybe they're watching.' You have to put that in the back of your mind. The way I look at it, if Edmonton gets off to a good start and you're making a strong contribution, that gives myself a chance,” said Eberle. "The biggest thing is that they’ll be looking at guys that can play 200 feet. Everyone knows I can score and I’m an offensive player, but if you can add the other dimension to your game, that’s how teams win and that’s the type of player they’re looking for."
Of interest during his interview with ESPN.com last week in New York: Eberle referred several times to wanting to play better defensively, not just individually, but as a team. He said the Oilers as a whole had to buy into that concept, and he underlined that Chicago’s star-studded team won the Cup only because the Hawks played a 200-foot game.
Are the young Oilers finally getting it?
Bob the goalie
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t hiding his Olympic-motivated goals for the season.
It’s on his mind, big time, as his country gets set to host the Sochi Games in February.
"Yes, that would be an unbelievable experience to play in front of our fans at home," said Bobrovsky. "That chance comes once in a lifetime; not every sports men can have this chance."
Just like when Canada hosted the Games in 2010, Bobrovsky spoke of a hockey-mad nation dreaming of gold.
"They’re getting more and more excited. There is really big emotion right now in Russia."
ESPN.com's Scott Burnside contributed to this report.