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'Pure joy' for Ducks' Fowler with Olympic roster spot

by Curtis Zupke

It seemed appropriate that Cam Fowler learned of his selection to the United States Olympic team while he watched the broadcast of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

As has become tradition, kids wearing jerseys of the chosen players for the team skated onto the ice one-by-one following the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium.

"I found out on TV," Fowler said. "When I saw the little kid with my jersey on TV."

Fowler always has had a kid's enthusiasm for the game, and he sounded like one when he spoke of his nerves leading up to Wednesday, when the American team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics was named.

Cam Fowler
Cam Fowler
Defense - ANA
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 25
SOG: 65 | +/-: 10
"I was trying to be as calm and collected as I could but I was pretty nervous," he said. "My heart was beating. I had a lot of adrenaline going … but once my name was called it was pure joy. I'm so happy. I'm still smiling. I can't stop. What a great honor and a proud moment for me."

Fowler, 22, has extensive experience with the United States national program, notably as a member of the U.S. team which defeated Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. But this will be his first Olympics.

Although he was invited to the Olympic orientation camp in the summer, Fowler wasn't seen as an Olympic possibility before the season.

An offensive defenseman throughout his early career, Fowler made it a point to be more balanced this season. He enters play Thursday No. 16 in the League with 81 blocked shots and playing on the penalty-killing unit for the first time in his career.

"That was the biggest thing was trying to complete my game and become the best all-round player and defenseman I can be," Fowler said. "I owe a lot to the coaching staff. I definitely owe a lot to them, and to everybody, teammates, in helping me to become better ... I think that's a huge reason I'm here today."

Fowler, who took ice-skating lessons as a youngster and whose skating is a major asset, is thought to be a good fit for the larger ice surface.

"I like to think it helped me at least show them that I can play that style of game and adapt to that big ice over there," he said.

Fowler is enjoying a turnaround season and his partnership with Ben Lovejoy has been needed on a Ducks blue line that is without Sheldon Souray and missed Luca Sbisa and Francois Beauchemin at times this season. With 25 points in 42 games, he's on pace for a career-best 49. He also has four goals, and a plus-10 rating while averaging a team-best 23:59 of ice time per game.

Fowler came on strong with four goals and 17 assists in 28 games in November and December.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau made a case for Fowler after the Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 on New Year's Eve.

"You're asking his coach, who thinks he's been tremendous all year," Boudreau said. "I say yes [for the Olympics], but I don't have a vote or a voice. And we are in Anaheim and teams don't see us that much. But I would take the last 25 games, offensively, his numbers, defensively, his numbers, the amount of minutes he plays, the way he can skate. I hope he gets picked."

Fowler also represented the U.S. at the 2011 and 2012 World Championship and the 2009 World Under-18 Championship, where he was named the tournament's top defenseman.

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