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Beauchemin Flattered To Be At Team Canada Camp

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

Komisarek, Team USA Know What To Expect | Leafs On Olympic Camp Rosters



CALGARY --
Milan Lucic is a fish out of water at the Canadian men's Olympic orientation camp this week.

The six-foot-three, 230-pound forward is known more for his battering-ram style of play than his speed and finesse.

Lucic won't be encouraged - in fact he'll be discouraged - from putting another player into the boards at Pengrowth Saddledome.

The 21-year-old from Vancouver will have to show other aspects of his game if he's going to play for Canada in the 2010 Olympics in his hometown.

``I'm not really a guy who beats guys one on one dangling on the ice,'' Lucic admitted Monday upon his arrival in Calgary. ``I've got to show I can keep up with the pace.

``I think I've got to show my smartness of the game and being good in the defensive zone and show I'm able to make good plays and be smart in those areas.''

The burly Boston Bruin is one of a few head-scratchers among the 46 invited to the four-day orientation camp.

He and players such as St. Louis forward Andy McDonald and defencemen Stephane Robidas of the Dallas Stars and Francois Beauchemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs are down the list of names people would conjure when asked who they think will play in the Olympics.

Beauchemin, from Sorel, Que., has no previous international experience, although he won a Stanley Cup in 2007 playing alongside Canadian team stalwarts Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger in Anaheim.

``To be among the 16 defencemen invited, I'm flattered,'' Beauchemin said. ``I was pretty surprised. I didn't expect it because I didn't play much this year.

``I had knee surgery back in November and only played 20 games this season. It's going to be a learning experience since I've never played with Team Canada anywhere.''

Robidas, from Sherbrooke, Que., has been an underdog through much of his career. He was the 164th pick in the 1995 draft by Montreal, who lost him on waivers to Atlanta, who then traded him to Dallas.

``I don't think anybody thinks I have a chance to make the team,'' the 32-year-old said. ``But I believe in myself, I know what I can do. I'll just try and be myself and see where that brings me.

``I think I bring a lot of energy, I'm a guy who can skate. I can be physical and I can move the puck. I don't have the big offensive numbers or anything like that, but I think I can be really reliable defensively and play a strong game.''

McDonald, ambitiously listed at five-foot-11 by Hockey Canada, has played in just one world championship. He played only 46 games last season because of a broken ankle.

But McDonald has the speed required by the international game as well as a scoring touch. The 32-year-old from Strathroy, Ont., scored 10 goals for Anaheim en route to that Stanley Cup title two years ago.

``You look at the players, it's a pretty talented list, but I feel like I'll just come in here, do what I normally do, play well, and not worry about anything else,'' McDonald said.

``I'm a quicker, skilled player. We've been pretty heavily scouted so I try to do what I've done all along and not try and change too much.''

They may be the dark horses to make team Canada, but executive director Steve Yzerman says he didn't summon them as afterthoughts. These players can play themselves onto the team by December, or a rash of injuries to others who play their positions may move them up Yzerman's depth chart.

``I go back to the goaltending situation I think it was last December through whenever when, had the tournament been last year, Marty Brodeur and Roberto Luongo were both injured,'' Yzerman explained. ``I think you have to cast a wide net.

``They're good players and there's a reason why they're here. It's certainly by no means just to fill out a roster spot here. Every player on that roster has a legitimate opportunity to contribute to the team in some way.''

Lucic is also short on international experience. He was captain of the Canadian junior team that played an eight-game series against Russian counterparts two years ago. The wide international ice surface doesn't suit his game, but the Olympics will be played on NHL-sized ice.

``Playing on an Olympic ice like I did in that Super Series, I found it a little bit tough with all that extra room, so this plays into my hand a little bit,'' he said.

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