Parents keep Blake in loop

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

In the U.S. Rockies, it's easy to sometimes lose track of the snowballing excitement building for the Olympic hockey tournament north of the border.

So how does Colorado Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake keep his finger on the pulse of the Canadian public when it comes to the defending gold-medal champions?

"I just call my parents back in my home town (of Simcoe, Ont.)," Blake said yesterday. "We haven't been to Canada to play probably in a couple of months but, talking to people back home, the Olympics are a big deal up there.

"After winning the gold medal in 2002, that's all people want to talk about."

Blake said his gold medal from Salt Lake was looked after by dad Robert and mom Sandra.

"They had it for the most part," he said. "We had it as part of a display in town a couple of years ago.

"They keep most of my stuff back there for me."

FORGOTTEN FRESHMAN?

Given the outstanding rookie crop that features Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Dion Phaneuf, among others, Marek Svatos of the Avalanche has passed under the radar of many observers.

But rather than be bitter, Svatos, who entered last night's game against the Maple Leafs with 26 goals, is taking it all in stride.

"I think it's up to the media," Svatos said when asked if he thinks he's a candidate for the Calder Trophy.

"They are the ones who recognize my name.

"Sidney, Ovechkin, they are the ones that deserve the attention. They are great players. Good for them. I don't worry about the points race or whatever you guys call it.

"People forget that this is really my second year. I didn't play enough games in my first year because I injured my shoulder so I'm still classified as a rookie. But I'm older than those other guys you mentioned.

"I just think playing in the minors last season helped me out a lot."

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

"Sure it's worse than initially thought. At first it was considered day to day. The fact that he's not on the trip with us confirms it's more serious."

-- Leafs coach Pat Quinn, referring to the groin injury of defenceman Bryan McCabe.


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