Players gear up for 'hockey camp'
By STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA
Putting on a smock and stethoscope is something Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson might consider next week.
He's not a doctor, but the money his organization forked over to take out full insurance policies for 46 players expected to hit the ice at the Saddledome Monday means a thorough inspection before the Olympic orientation camp is more important than ever.
"I can tell you one thing we're going to do. We're going to go through full medicals. We do that anyway, but we really, really have to watch that now," Nicholson said after announcing the plan yesterday in Calgary.
"I know every player wants to come on the ice and skate, but we're going to ask our medical staff to look at it one more time.
"We're going to make sure everyone is 100% before they go out there on the ice."
Guys coming off late-season injuries or off-season surgeries will likely be scrutinized, and could be limited to the meetings and team-building activities.
Those who do take the ice should be comfortable, whether they have a two- or a 12-year deal. That's what Nicholson was hoping for.
"We wanted them to be at ease at this camp. We wanted them to come in here and just focus on getting ready," he said. "This is the first step towards 2010 and we all know what is expected from every Canadian. They want a gold-medal performance by this team."
Covering more than $500-million in players' salaries, the bottom line wasn't disclosed. They'll try to gain it back through tickets for the scrimmage Thursday night, and have been offered 25% of the gala dinner profit.
The extra cash, which was "more money than we expected," according to Nicholson, pleased the NHLPA, which originally suggested players skip the on-ice portion of Canadian and U.S. camps because of lack of protection.
"The health and well-being of our members is of paramount importance to this association, and our members would have been exposed to significant risk without the full coverage that is now being provided," said Paul Kelly, executive director of the players' association.
"We commend Hockey Canada on their decision and appreciate their consideration of our concerns. NHLPA members are extremely proud when given the chance to represent their country on the international stage, and we are confident that this development will enhance the overall Olympic experience for these Canadian members."
It saves them some cash they would have coughed up for personal policies to protect themselves.
"Hopefully what we've done today, we'll be able to call on these players to help promote the game, make sure they'll come back and grow the game," said Nicholson.
TEAM CANADA ORIENTATION CAMP ROSTER
The 46 players vying to wear the Maple Leaf in Vancouver
Jeff Carter (London, Ont./Philadelphia); Dan Cleary (Carboneau, N.L./Detroit); Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh); Shane Doan (Halkirk, Alta./Phoenix); Simon Gagne (Ste-Foy, Que./Philadelphia); Dany Heatley (Calgary/Ottawa); Jarome Iginla (St. Albert, Alta./Calgary); Vincent Lecavalier (Ile-Bizard, Que./Tampa Bay); Milan Lucic (Vancouver/Boston); Patrick Marleau (Aneroid, Sask./San Jose); Andy McDonald (Strathroy, Ont./St. Louis); Brenden Morrow (Carlyle, Sask./Dallas); Rick Nash (Brampton, Ont./Columbus); Corey Perry (Peterborough, Ont./Anaheim); Michael Richards (Kenora, Ont./Philadelphia) Derek Roy (Rockland, Ont./Buffalo); Patrick Sharp (Thunder Bay/Chicago); Ryan Smyth (Banff/Colorado); Jason Spezza (Mississauga, Ont./Ottawa); Martin St-Louis (Laval, Que./Tampa Bay); Eric Staal (Thunder Bay/Carolina); Jordan Staal (Thunder Bay/Pittsburgh); Joe Thornton (St. Thomas, Ont./San Jose); Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg/Chicago).
* replaced Ryan Getzlaf (Regina/Anaheim)
Francois Beauchemin (Sorel, Que./Anaheim); Jay Bouwmeester (Edmonton/Calgary); Dan Boyle (Ottawa/San Jose); Brent Burns (Ajax, Ont./Minnesota); Drew Doughty (London, Ont./Los Angeles); Mike Green (Calgary/Washington); Dan Hamhuis (Smithers, B.C./Nashville); Duncan Keith (Penticton, B.C./Chicago); Scott Niedermayer (Cranbrook, B.C./Anaheim); Dion Phaneuf (Edmonton/Calgary); Chris Pronger (Dryden, Ont./Philadelphia); Robyn Regehr (Rosthern, Sask./Calgary); Stephane Robidas (Sherbrooke, Que./Dallas); Brent Seabrook (Tsawwassen, B.C./Chicago); Marc Staal (Thunder Bay, Ont./N.Y. Rangers); Shea Weber (Sicamous, B.C./Nashville)
Martin Brodeur (Montreal, Que./New Jersey); Marc-Andre Fleury (Sorel, Que./Pittsburgh); Roberto Luongo (Montreal, Que./Vancouver); Steve Mason (Oakville, Ont./Columbus); Cam Ward (Sherwood Park, Alta./Carolina)