For Cam Fowler
, the sting of leaving the Olympics empty-handed has worn off – even if the jet lag hasn’t.
Fowler flew back to the States yesterday, enduring an 11-hour flight from Sochi to New Jersey, then another six hours from New York’s JFK to Southern California. He said he got to bed at a decent hour, but the adjustment to the new time zone caused him to wake up at around 4:00 this morning, unable to go back to sleep.
There is plenty to keep Fowler up right now, after he and Team USA suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to eventual Olympic champion Canada last Friday in the semifinals, then were routed 5-0 by Finland in the next day’s bronze medal game.
But Fowler says he turned the page on that anticlimax right around the time he landed in New Jersey and parted ways with his parents, who were with him all the way in Sochi.
“I said goodbye to my family, and that really meant for me that the whole experience was over,” said Fowler, who dropped by Honda Center today but did not take part in the practice and First Flight festivities with his Ducks teammates. “It was time to start thinking about coming back here and getting ready for a big push into the playoffs. I still reminisce and think about the times I had over there, but my focus has shifted now and this is what’s important to me.”
Fowler did express regret for how things developed for the U.S., which got off to a strong start in the tournament that included a dramatic shootout win over Russia in which Fowler scored the game’s first goal.
“That’s what makes the Olympics unique,” Fowler said. “You spend a lot of time building up to that tournament and thinking about it, and it can be over in a blink of an eye. We had a great start, and we felt confident and that we had a team that could do something special. Then you have a heartbreaking loss to Canada 1-0, and before you know it, you have to play a bronze medal game 24 hours later. There were a lot of ups and downs, but I wish we could have come up with a better performance.
“Obviously it was disappointing for us as a group, but for me it was a very cool experience and something I was lucky to be a part of. They took great care of us, so besides coming home empty-handed, I had a great time.”
The 22-year-old Fowler said he was pleased with his play in his first Olympics, in which he led all U.S. defenseman with a +4 rating, and he’s trying to move on from the disappointment of those two losses.
“It’s one of those things where once it was done, it was out of our hands,” he said. “As much as it stung in the semifinals and the bronze medal game, there is not much I can do about it now. I reflected on it a little bit, but a lot of my focus was trying to transition back here now, come home and see the guys and get ready. I still think about it once in awhile, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time searching for answers.”
|“He just apologized and said he was sorry,” Fowler said of Selanne following the bronze medal game. “He kind of gave me a hug and said he was proud of me. Like I said over there, if there was one person I could handle losing that game to, it would be him. I was happy for him and the tournament that he had, and to share that with him after a heartbreaking loss was still pretty cool for me.” |
T.J. Oshie, who was the hero of that shootout against the Russians, was one USA teammate Fowler said he spent a lot of time with in Sochi. It just so happens Fowler will see Oshie again when the Ducks face the Blues in their first game back, Friday night at Honda Center.
“It was pretty cool getting to know a lot of the guys, guys you face a lot and guys you might be rivals with,” Fowler said. “It was great spending a lot of time with them. We have the rivalries on the ice, but they’re great guys off the ice.
On the other side of the coin, a number of Fowler’s longtime Ducks teammates became rivals for those two weeks in Sochi. That included Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry for Team Canada, and Teemu Selanne for Team Finland, who scored two goals in that bronze medal victory over Team USA. Fowler said the sting of that loss was numbed a bit by his encounter with Selanne during the postgame handshake.
“He just apologized and said he was sorry,” Fowler said with a hint of a laugh. “He kind of gave me a hug and said he was proud of me. Like I said over there, if there was one person I could handle losing that game to, it would be him. I was happy for him and the tournament that he had, and to share that with him after a heartbreaking loss was still pretty cool for me.”
Now Fowler’s focus is on getting back to business in Anaheim, as Friday’s bout with St. Louis is the first of 22 remaining regular season games as the Ducks look to maintain their lead in the NHL standings.
“It was a fun time and obviously a bright spot in my life, but now it’s time to move on,” said Fowler, who will look to resume practice tomorrow afternoon. “We’re a focused group and we know what we have to do to be successful. I know everyone will be ready when Friday comes. We’ve got to jump right back into it.”