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Monday, July 22, 2013

Team Canada, Team Russia Name Olympic Invites

In preparation for the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi both Canada and Russia have named its list of invitees to participate for a chance to be named to Team Canada.  Five of those are Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sidney Crosby with Team Canada
As Team Canada prepares to defend its 2010 Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia early next year they have cobbled together some of the best forwards, defenders and goaltenders in the hockey world.  A full roster can be found here, via our friends at Puck Daddy, but the highlights are those in black and vegas gold who will have a chance to play for their country:

Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang.

None of these should be a shocker but the inclusion of Chris Kunitz may be a mild surprise.  It's thought that his inclusion is made due to his instant chemistry with star Crosby.  James Neal is arguably the best winger in Canada and Letang easily one of the best defenseman (though not defender).

The most surprising, though not entirely surprising, snub is that of Marc-Andre Fleury.  Fleury was a member of Team Canada in 2010 and earned a gold medal despite not seeing any playing time behind Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.  Fleury's well publicized and discussed playoff issues likely led to his invite being lost in the mail.

Evgeni Malkin with Team Russia
Former Penguin Jordan Staal was invited to camp, along with his brothers Eric and Marc, presumably so they could all make s'mores together.

On the other side of the pond Russia has named its camp in hopes of winning the gold on their home turf.  Only one Penguin made the list, not surprisingly it's Evgeni Malkin.  Former Penguin great Sergei Gonchar was also invited to participate in the camp.  A full list can be found here.

Elsewhere in Europe Team Finland announced their invites.  Among those invited is Penguins center/winger/recent acquisition Jussi Jokinen.  Former Penguins Janne Pesonen and Jarkko Ruutu were also invited.  Full roster can be found here.

Team USA will extend their invites tomorrow at 10am Eastern.  The team, to be coached by Dan Bylsma with Ray Shero in an assistant General Manager role, may see only two Penguins invited in Paul Martin and 2010 participant Brooks Orpik.

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