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Canada hockey team set to open four-day camp

Canada hockey team set to open four-day camp

Canada's top ice hockey stars were surrounded by TV cameras and autograph seekers as they arrived for the start of this week's Olympic orientation camp for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Roughly two-thirds of the 46 players invited to the camp landed at Calgary's airport where fans were nearly tripping over one another trying to collect autographs or snap pictures of the NHL stars.
"It's the middle of August and you see a lot of hockey fans here," said Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, one of five goalies attending the camp. "That tells a lot."
The scene was a little calmer earlier in the morning when Duncan Keith was the first player to step off a plane.
Still, the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman couldn't help but feel excited about how far he'd come. He was a spectator when the Olympic camp was held in Kelowna, British Columbia, four years ago.
"I feel like it's a huge privilege to be here," Keith said. "I remember watching the Olympic orientation camp ... with some of my buddies. Now to be playing here is pretty cool. Playing alongside these guys is a pretty neat feeling."
It's the kind of statement that will be heard a lot this week with 20 players under the age of 25 participating in the anticipated camp. There's a growing feeling that the next generation will be well represented on the 2010 team, especially coming off a seventh-place finish by the veteran-laden 2006 Olympic squad.
"It's a good mix," Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash said. "Last time I played in the Olympics I felt like one of the only young guys. There's a new wave coming in right now."
Veterans like Los Angeles Kings winger Ryan Smyth, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan and New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur know they can't take a roster spot for granted.
"It's not going to come easy _ there's so many great young players coming up taking jobs," Smyth said. "You've got to be on top you've got to be ready and focused from game to game, from shift to shift. You have to work for everything."
The players all went through medicals after arriving in Calgary and were scheduled to take the ice for practice at Pengrowth Saddledome on Monday night. They've been divided into two groups that will also skate separately on Tuesday and Wednesday before wrapping up the camp with a scrimmage Thursday night.
The on-ice sessions should provide the first glimpse into some of the combinations Mike Babcock's coaching staff and Steve Yzerman's management team are considering for the team. The debate will likely continue until the Olympic roster is announced in December
"You can analyze it to death," Keith said. "Really it comes down to playing and competing, having a good camp here and having a good start (to the season). I'm not really worrying about how many spots are open and who else is playing good and what not.
"I think you just worry about things you can control and hopefully the rest takes care of itself."


Updated : 2021-07-24 23:38 GMT+08:00