Evgeni Nabokov struggled while playing goal for Russia in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, so he is glad to have been one of five netminders invited to Russia Olympic orientation camp.
But Nabokov, who re-signed with the New York Islanders this summer, said the 2014 Sochi Olympics in February aren't the only thing on his mind as he prepares for the season.
"Everyone understands that this is the year of the Olympics, and the Games are very important for the country," the 38-year-old said this week in an interview with R-Sport. "However, you should understand that playing for our own club is no less important. Moreover, one supplements the other here: If you play badly for the club, you will not get to the Olympics.
"Therefore, each of us thinks about playing the first club game and later we will think about the second game, and then, in February, we will think about the Olympics. Now we have to prove to the coaches that we deserve to play on the national team, and I can only do this with the help of [playing well] with the Islanders. Believe me, I will not be thinking 24/7 about the Olympics."
CALGARY -- Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said he wasn't sure how his right knee would react to running around on the fiberglass ball hockey floor at Canada Olympic orientation camp this week, but he came away from his second day of walk-throughs no worse for wear.
"I feel better than I thought I would, so that's good," Staal told NHL.com Tuesday night.
CALGARY -- Even though Corey Perry has played with Teemu Selanne for the past eight seasons, the Anaheim Ducks forward wants to be counted among the hockey fans dying to know if his teammate is going to return to the NHL in 2013-14.
Selanne reportedly is going to make a decision whether he will return for a 21st season or retire at the age of 43 sometime soon.
"When everybody asks you or talks to you about hockey, it's always, 'Is Teemu coming back?'" Perry told NHL.com Tuesday at Canada Olympic orientation camp. "I don't have an answer for them, but I'm curious as well to know what's going on, what's going through his mind, what does he want to do? This is probably the third, fourth, fifth maybe sixth time he's gone through this, but it's Teemu and he's a legend. If you talk about hockey his name is probably going to come up."
CALGARY -- Steve Yzerman hasn't officially named a leadership group for the Canadian Olympic Team in the way his counterpart to the south, David Poile, did for the United States in Arlington, Va., earlier this week. However, during a sit-down interview with NHL Network on Tuesday, Canada's executive director hinted at five players who could be part of such a group should he officially name one.
CALGARY -- Few players can boast that they've hoisted the Stanley Cup over their head and had an Olympic gold medal placed around their neck.
But for three members of the Chicago Blackhawks who have won both, the accomplishments generate totally different emotions.
Ryan used the natural beauty of the rugged terrain around his summer home near Jackson Hole, Wyo., to work on his cardio base. He was shown the way by Bobby Holik, the former NHL player who won a pair of Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils during an 18-year career.
Holik, who retired in 2009, settled in the area after his playing days. According to Ryan, Holik reached out to him -- through Twitter -- with the idea of doing some offseason training.
Ryan agreed and signed on for some dry-land training like none he had ever experienced before.
CALGARY -- Four years ago, home-ice advantage in Vancouver helped play a role in Canada's Olympic gold. The Canadians won't have that luxury when they try to defend their gold medal in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Though the rivalry between the two countries may not be quite as intense as it once was, Canadian center Jonathan Toews is aware that a trip to Sochi will be a journey into hostile and relatively unfamiliar territory.
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Training camp is going to be a little different for the Vancouver Canucks this season with new coach John Tortorella in charge.
It is also going to be different than recent ones for center Ryan Kesler, mostly because he will be participating in it. Kesler missed camp for the 2011-12 season because of hip surgery. He wasn't able to take part last season because he was still rehabbing after shoulder surgery.
"Put the past couple of years behind me is the key phrase," Kesler said. "It was a tough, tough two years. This summer was amazing. Being able to work out fully again and train and skate with the guys and really to have my first training camp in two years is exciting. I'm excited to get back at it."
ARLINGTON, Va. -- When Brian Burke spoke of his favorite memory from the 2010 Winter Olympics, it wasn't watching the team he constructed beating Canada in the preliminary round or winning a silver medal.
His favorite memory is when members of the Wounded Warriors program spoke to the United States team. Members of the military who take part in the Wounded Warriors program were able to spend lots of time with the U.S. squad in the lead-up to the 2010 Games and in Vancouver, and it was a memorable part of the experience for players on the team as well.
"The last camp and Olympics they were around with us and it was really special," Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. "It was great to hear their stories, and they would get us pretty jacked up before the games. When we think we're making sacrifices, it is not even close. It's not even the same stratosphere. We have a great deal of respect for them and what they do.
"It makes it personal. You get to hang out with them and ask so many questions, sit and eat with them, have them come to practice. We are just as interested in what they have done as they are in what we've done. It makes it really cool, and you can make legitimate friendships instead of just saying, 'Hey, thanks for the talk.' It is a great experience and a thrill that USA Hockey does it."
Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.