Uncle Sam wants two!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET


 Excuse Jordan Leopold for feeling slightly out of place.

 The Flames defenceman, who'll turn 24 in August, was selected yesterday to Team USA for this summer's World Cup of Hockey.

 Compared to the other seven defencemen selected to represent the Red, White and Blue, he's a baby.

 "I'll be taking notes," Leopold said yesterday.

 "As a kid, you look up to some of those guys. It's weird to see my name on the same piece of paper, the same roster."

 The other rearguards chosen for the defending champs are Chris Chelios, 42, Brian Leetch, 36, Mathieu Schneider, 35, Ken Klee, 33, Aaron Miller, 32, Derian Hatcher, 32, and Brian Rafalski, 30.

 Even though Leopold is a rising star among American-born players, he was surprised to be chosen for the tournament, which runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 14.

 So was Flames teammate Craig Conroy, who's never before been chosen to represent his country.

 "This is a great chance for me," said the always enthusiastic centre.

 "I'm a little older than most guys who play for their country for the first time but I feel I can contribute."

 That's true based on their play throughout the Flames run to the Stanley Cup final.

 Leopold, who logs as much ice time as anyone on the Flames roster, has had a solid post-season with seven assists and a plus-six rating in 19 games.

 Conroy, who struggled through a sub-par regular season, has rounded into the form he displayed a couple of seasons ago, with five goals and 15 points.

 "You've got to make people want you on their team," Conroy said. "If we don't make the playoffs and have this run, there's no way for me. This is all so much fun."

 While Conroy will be a neophyte in international competition, it won't be the same for Leopold. The second-year NHLer has played at two world juniors as well as a pair of world championships.

 "He's just so good," Conroy said. "He's going to be one of those guys in USA Hockey for 17 years."

 One thing Leopold will experience for the first time in this tournament is the chance to play on home soil.

 In fact, he'll actually get to lace up in his hometown when the U.S. faces both Russia and Slovakia in St. Paul, Minn.

 "It's one of my favourite places to play on the road and now I'll be on the home team," Leopold said.

 Flames teammates already named to the tournament are Marcus Nilson of Sweden and Canadians Robyn Regehr and Jarome Iginla, who will be somebody the Americans have to contain when they face Canada.

 "I know his tendencies so I'll be able to handle him," Leopold said before breaking into laughter. "No, it'll be a lot of fun."

 Fun that will be increased with a little bit extra on the line, Conroy added.

 "If I play against him, there'll be nothing for Iggy," he said. "He's already trash-talking me. Actually, it'll be a real challenge but you want something like that. You want bragging rights."


Photos