Players hope to receive invites to Olympic camps

June, 19, 2009

LAS VEGAS -- Hard not to look at the NHL people on hand at the Palms on Thursday night and think about the possible Olympic ties.

Vancouver Canucks teammates Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler were standing together about an hour before the awards show. They might be opponents in February 2010.

When I told Luongo, a shoo-in for Team Canada, that Kesler, a strong candidate for Team USA, might run him in the Canada-USA game, Luongo laughed and said, "I'll just slash him."

Team USA will announce its camp roster June 30. The camp runs Aug. 17-20 in Chicago. Team Canada gets together Aug. 24-28 in Calgary for its camp.

Kesler hopes to get an invite and make the team. He said the fact that no one will pick Team USA to win gold in Vancouver is perfect.

"I like being the dark horse," Kesler said. "No pressure. Just go in and play. I think we're going to have a good team."

"It's going to be great to get the guys together and get a little bit of a game plan maybe and start working on some stuff," Luongo said. "It sets the tone for what will be a great tournament."

Olympic GM Steve Yzerman will likely announce Canada's head coach next Thursday in Montreal. The betting money is on Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. Mind you, his assistant coaches will probably also be well-regarded NHL coaches.

"Getting a chance to represent your country would be an honor, although I don't know which direction they will take," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, this year's Jack Adams Award winner, who also is a former coach of Canada's world junior team. "Unless you got a real good reason, you can never turn down an opportunity like that."

Jack Adams nominee Andy Murray is a former national team coach who won a pair of gold medals at the 1997 and 2003 IIHF men's world championship.

"I've had a lot of great opportunities over the years," Murray said Thursday. "There's a lot of great coaches to choose from. They'll pick a great coach."

Capitals defenseman Mike Green, a Norris Trophy nominee, has his fingers crossed that he'll get an invite to Canada's orientation camp.

"Absolutely, I hope so," Green said. "That's been a goal of mine ever since I came into the league, to try and be on that team. Whatever happens happens, but it would definitely be an honor to be there."



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?