Sens weigh in on Olympic dreams

DON BRENNAN , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 PM ET

un, fun ... or work?

Easy decision, right?

Of course it is.

Sometimes.

While five of them are representing their countries at what they do best, every one of the Senators would like nothing more than to be plying their trades in Vancouver, instead of kickin’ back and soakin’ it up on a nine-day vacation.

Any athlete who has been there will tell you there are few better feelings than waving the flag and standing on a podium at the Olympics.

But if not on their homeland’s hockey team, in what other sports would Senators like to chase gold at the Games?

We posed that question to a few of them before they went their separate ways before the NHL’s Olympic break.

“I remember Eddie the Eagle at the Calgary Olympics,” said defenceman Chris Phillips, a native of Cowtown. “I don’t know how much experience he had, but he was in there. I always said, if I can’t make it in hockey (at the Olympics), I would just take up ski jumping to get in there.

“We might have some better ski jumpers, but I’d give it a shot.”

Other defenders of the Ottawa goal are also intrigued by the idea of going down a hill at top speeds. And in awe of those who do it for the country.

“I think the downhill skiing is pretty cool,” said goalie Pascal Leclaire. “I’ve never skied before, but it’s something I definitely want to try when I’m done playing hockey. These are amazing athletes, just the way they go down the hill, the way they’re in shape. It’s pretty cool.”

Anton Volchenkov is representing a Russian hockey team that is one of the favourites to win gold. If he wasn’t, he too would choose skiing.

With his remote control.

“Downhill,” said Volchenkov. “I’ve tried before, but I like watching.

“The speed ... it’s a very tough sport, too.”

Matt Carkner would like to pursue a medal in a couple of different ways.

“It definitely wouldn’t be speed skating,” joked the big blueliner. “But there’s a lot I like about the Olympics, so it’s a tough decision.

“I like those ski jumps, where they do all those crazy tricks and everything. I’d like to start off slow with that one. It’s crazy, you’ve got to be pretty insane to do that. Maybe after I tried it a few times I’d change my mind.

“Bobsled would be real cool, as well. That’s got to be pretty intense, too.”

Fellow bruiser Chris Neil agreed.

“I’d pick the bobsled,” he said. “It looks like you only have to do a little work at the start, then you hop on for a ride.”

For the sake of extracting a variety of answers, the Senators were given their choice of naming a sport in either the Winter or Summer Games that they’d like to compete in for their country.

Which would you like to be in, Jesse Winchester?

“The Olympics isn’t just a hockey tournament?” joked the second-year centre.

“I’d probably go with downhill skiing. I’d admire their leg strength and fearlessness.

“In the Summer Games,” he added, “it would be beach volleyball. I love volleyball. It’s one of my favourite sports.”

Jason Spezza stayed in the spirit of the season, for a reason.

“Ski cross,” he said, “because my best buddy’s a ski-crosser, so I would get to race against him.

“It’s crazy, that sport. It’s a pretty fun sport. There’s four guys basically doing a downhill slalom course at the same time. It looks pretty cool.”

Chris Campoli would stay indoors, given the chance and a different body.

“I’m a big basketball fan,” he said. “If I was 6-foot-6 and could dunk a basketball, that’s something I’d really like to be part of.”

His next-stall neighbour was befuddled by some of answers.

“I heard someone say bobsledding,” said Chris Kelly. “That’s ridiculous. Why not the 100 metres? You win the 100 metres and you’re God. That’s a no-brainer. The 100-m dash is what I’d want to be in.”

After originally joking that he was going to delay a family trip to Florida in case 599 players were injured and he was suddenly invited to play on the Canadian hockey team, Shean Donovan also decided he’d like to be a track star in the Olympics.

“It’d be sick to be the fastest man in the world,” said Donovan. “The 100 metres, for sure. That’s the sickest event, I think, in the Olympics. That’s what I want to watch all the time.”

Thinking like a true pro, Leclaire agreed.

“The popular choice, if you could win something, would probably be the 100 metres,” he said. “That’s where they probably make most money out of the sponsors from.”

Money, God-like status and a gold medal ... what more could one want?

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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