SASKATOON – Notes Wednesday on the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team:
2005 JUNIOR TEAM REPRESENTED ON OLYMPIC TEAM – Of the 23 players named to Canada’s 2010 men’s Olympic team Wednesday, seven played for Canada in the 2005 world junior championship in Grand Forks, N.D.
That junior team was considered the strongest in Canada’s history at the world junior tournament. Not only did the NHL lockout make all of Canada’s best players available, but the 1985 birth year was freakishly strong in big forwards.
Mike Richards of Kenora, Ont., who was captain of the ’05 junior team, was named to Olympic squad along with fellow forwards Patrice Bergeron of Sillery, Que., Sidney Crosby of Cole Harbour, N.S., Regina’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of London, Ont.
Defencemen Brent Seabrook of Tsawwassen, B.C., and Shea Weber of Sicamous, B.C., were also members of that junior team.
“The collection of young players who had success in North Dakota, and there are a number of those players on the team, that goes a long way,” said associate executive director Kevin Lowe. “They know the whole gig, the pressure, what’s expected and the whole routine that goes along with playing for Team Canada.”
Edmonton defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forward Jeff Carter of London, Ont., played for that 2005 junior team and were also considered candidates for the Olympic squad.
HEATLEY IS ON – Dany Heatley turned down a chance to play for Edmonton, but that didn’t deter Oilers boss Lowe from wanting him on the Olympic squad.
“Any sort of ill-feelings you may have at the end of the day aside, Dany Heatley has a history of shooting the puck in the net and I think we all recognize that you have to put the puck in the net,” he said.
WANTS A GOLD OF HIS OWN – Sidney Crosby lives with Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, but he’s never laid eyes on the Lemieux’s Olympic gold medal won in 2002, when Lemieux was also captain of the team.
“I know he has one,” said Crosby, named assistant captain of Canada’s 2010 Olympic team Wednesday. “I don’t need to see it.”
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ONTARIO LEADS – Ontario produced the most players on Canada’s 23-man Olympic roster with eight – Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Chris Pronger, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Eric Staal and Joe Thornton.
B.C. and Quebec had four each, with goalies Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Marc-Andre Fleury as well as centre Patrice Bergeron from La Belle Province and four defencemen – Duncan Keith, Scott Niedermayer, Brent Seabrook and Shea Weber – all from B.C.
There are three from Saskatchewan – Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Marleau and Brenden Morrow (not to mention coach Mike Babcock) and two from Alberta – Dany Heatley and Jarome Iginla.
Manitoba has Jonathan Toews while Nova Scotia is home to Sidney Crosby.