Steen aims at 2010 Olympics, McCabe for Turin

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Bryan McCabe continues to make a strong bid for Canada's Olympic team, but no matter how well Alex Steen does in the next month, he has no chance of playing for Sweden.

Steen, enjoying a fine rookie season that may be eye-opening to everyone but himself, was left off Sweden's preliminary list when it was submitted to the IIHF last month.

"When the list came out, I glanced at it and I was like: 'I think I could have made the list,' " the 21-year-old Steen said. "But my first priority was making this team and doing well. I look forward to playing (at the Olympics) down the road."

Sweden had 65 players on its list (including the Maple Leafs' Mats Sundin and Mikael Tellqvist), with 37 forwards. The deadline for naming Olympic rosters is Dec. 22, and there can't be players named who were not on the original list.

McCabe is a different story. He yesterday garnered the NHL's offensive player of the week honours after recording three goals and four assists in three Leafs wins. For the week ending Oct. 17, McCabe was named the NHL's defensive player of the week.

McCabe is the only defenceman this season to be recognized for either award.

Whether McCabe will do enough before Canada names its roster on Dec. 21 remains to be seen. It's a bit of a tough spot for Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who will coach Canada. Quinn will have some input but certainly not the final decision on whether McCabe goes to Turin.

"There is reason to think he might be a guy," Quinn said. "He has continued to improve and it certainly would bode well for him when he gets down to the final strokes."

Based on what he has done early in his NHL career, it's safe to say Steen will be in Sweden's mix for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Where his reputation as a fine defensive player preceded him before this season, he also has done good things on offence for the Leafs.

With eight goals and six assists in 21 games, Steen was sixth in NHL rookie scoring going into last night, and Sundin has called him "a pleasant surprise."

Said Steen: "I've not done better than I expected. I expect this out of myself. It's the all-around playing, not just points, and that's what I have been feeling comfortable with."


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