Belfour, McCabe on Team Canada's to-do list

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Excuse Ed Belfour and Bryan McCabe if their ears are ringing like the Liberty Bell today.

While the two Leafs are on the ice practising in Toronto, coach Pat Quinn will be in Philadelphia meeting with Team Canada officials to whittle down the list of 81 candidates for Turin.

Among the topics of discussion will be McCabe and Belfour, the Leafs with the best shot to make the team.

"They have both earned serious consideration," Quinn said.

But what of the other Leafs who are vying for spots on their various Olympic squads?

With countries required to announce their final 23-man rosters by Dec. 22, here are the foreign-born Leafs who have solid chances to be in Italy.

Mats Sundin (Sweden)

A shoo-in, and likely will be named captain again. Best player on any team at 2002 Salt Lake City games until the shocking loss to Belarus.

Mikael Tellqvist (Sweden)

"He's a lock," Sundin said.

Who are we to argue with Big Mats?

"It has been a goal of mine all season to make that team," Tellqvist said.

New York Rangers rookie Henrik Lundqvist is said to have the edge as the starter but Tellqvist will give him a run.

Aki Berg (Finland)

Spoke with Finnish general manager Jari Kurri while the Leafs were in Florida for a game against the Panthers 11 days ago.

"I'm very hopeful," said Berg, a member of the 2004 World Cup finalists.

Asked about starter Miikka Kiprusoff, Berg replied: "We finally have a star goalie."

TOMAS KABERLE

(CZECH REPUBLIC)

A slam dunk. In fact, Kaberle chatted with Czech head coach Alois Hadamczik about Turin earlier this week.

"I'm looking forward to it,"said Kaberle, a member of the 2005 world champion Czech team. "I remember when we won the 1998 (Olympic) gold medal, the whole country went crazy."

ALEXANDER KHAVANOV (RUSSIA)

Recently chatted with Russian officials. GM Pavel Bure watched him play against the Panthers 11 days ago.

"I hope I get the call because it's my last chance," said the 33-year-old Khavanov.

"I'll be too old for (2010)."

NIK ANTROPOV

(KAZAKHSTAN)

The lanky forward has been in touch with team officials via e-mail.

"We talked when I was back there, too," Antropov said.

"I'm preparing to go, but I hope everything works out -- in other words, no injuries."

KEN KLEE (U.S.)

Was a member of the American team at the 2004 World Cup.

He is on the long list of U.S. candidates, but has not talked to American officials since the season started.

"It's win-win," he said.

"If I go, it's an honour. If I don't, it's a nice break for my body to heal."


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