It would be quite an accomplishment for an NHL team to have three representatives on the Canadian Olympic team. How about three members of one family?
That's something Eric, Marc and Jordan Staal would love to see happen at the Vancouver Games in February.
The three brothers are all attending the National Men’s Team orientation camp this week and have been able to consider the possibility after each receiving an invite last month. They were together when executive director Steve Yzerman started formally asking players to come to Calgary.
“We were all really excited about it,” Jordan Staal said on Monday. “We were all actually out at camp when all three of us heard about it and we were all happy for each other. There's no question it'd be something special if it all came together for us.”It's already been a special summer for the 20-year-old after winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in June. That gave him a chance to follow older brother Eric and bring the trophy back to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont.
By doing so, it upped the pressure on Marc, a defenceman with the New York Rangers, and the family's youngest son Jared, who is a Phoenix Coyotes prospect.
“Obviously everyone's looking at me and Jared as the only ones that haven't won it,” said Marc Staal. “But you can't predict stuff like that. Obviously, I want my hands on that thing, seeing how much fun they had with it.”
He didn't have too much fun during Jordan's day with the Cup.
“I kept my distance,” said Marc. “Never touched it.”
SHORT AND SWEET: Sidney Crosby has never had a shorter off-season during his NHL career. And he's never had a better one, either.
The Pittsburgh Penguins star was back on the ice at the National Men’s Team orientation camp just 73 days after becoming the youngest captain in league history to lift the Stanley Cup. During the break, he managed to spend a couple memorable days with the trophy and was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia.
Even still, No. 87 had no trouble getting excited for the camp.
“It has gone by quick but when you get here and you've seen all the guys, all the anticipation with the camp and with the season starting, it's easy to switch gears and get ready for another one,” said Crosby.
TALKING OLYMPICS: Men’s Olympic Team head coach Mike Babcock completely understands why Canadians have such huge interest in the 2010 team.
Since being given the job two months ago, he's spent a lot of time talking to people about what the squad might look like. That includes some folks that live near his summer home in Saskatchewan and a group of strangers that successfully bid on a fishing trip with him.
“Because I spend my summer in Canada, we talk about it a lot,” said Babcock. “They auctioned off a fishing trip for kids with cancer to go with me. One night on the table I laid it all out for them – I figured they might as well get something for the trip – so we laid out the rosters, it was kind of fun.
“The plumbers had a lot of input for me.”
SURPRISE INVITE: No one was more surprised to get invited to the National Men’s Team orientation camp than Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Francois Beauchemin.
The 29-year-old has never once represented Canada or even been asked to come to a tryout before. As a result, he was understandably shocked when Kevin Lowe gave him a call on July 1 to extend an invite.
Now that he's in Calgary, he feels a little like a rookie.
“I've never participated in the world juniors or World Cup or whatever,” said Beauchemin.
“I'm new to this. I don't know what it's like. I'm coming in and (I'll) see how it goes and do what I can do.”
GROWING UP FAST: Times have changed pretty quickly for Duncan Keith.
He attended Canada's orientation camp as a spectator in 2005 and now finds himself participating in the real thing. The experience of watching what went on in Kelowna, B.C., four years ago has stuck with him to this day.
“I remember watching Marty St. Louis and how fast he was,” said Keith. “I couldn't believe it took him two seconds to get down the other end of the ice. It was a packed building there in Kelowna with a lot of people watching.
“I remember seeing Wayne Gretzky up in the stands. Just to be a part of that now and actually be one of the guys for me is a thrill.”
Even though he's come a long way, he's intent not to rest on his laurels.
“I don't feel like I'm satisfied with anything I've done,” said Keith. “It's obviously a thrill and an honour to be here, but for me it doesn't feel like I've accomplished anything yet.”
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