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USA Camp: Day 1

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers is in Woodridge, Illinois getting all the latest from the United States orientation camp. 34 players are there bonding with one another as they find out more about the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and what it will take to make Team USA. Cats forward David Booth is at the camp.

Parise on Parise

08.17.2009 / 7:29 PM ET

New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise, who is rooming with Florida's David Booth during their participation at orientation camp at Seven Bridges Arena this week, has high hopes of playing on a similar international stage as his father.

Zach's father, J.P. Parise, was selected as a checking forward for Team Canada on a line with Wayne Cashman and Phil Esposito during the Summit Series of 1972. There, the elder Parise collected 2 goals and 4 points in six games.

"I admired his competitiveness -- that's what always stood out to me," Zach said of his father. "We have the box of DVD's of that Summit Series and I've watched him a few times. The way he competed on the ice was something special and hopefully, I'll be able to play on the same stage as he."

Just because J.P. was a member of Team Canada in '72, doesn't mean he'll be rooting for the Canadians in February.

"He's definitely rooting for the USA now," Zach said with the smile. "He's an American citizen and, not taking anything away from what he did with Canada because that was the highlight of his career, but he's pro-USA."

--Mike G. Morreale

Former Olympians receive call from Burke
08.17.2009 / 7:17 PM ET

Team USA General Manager Brian Burke actually contacted former Olympians Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk and Billy Guerin to inform them of the decisions that were made when constructing the men's Olympic orientation camp this week.

"We've been the beneficiaries of a generation of American players who were just marvelous workers for us," Burke said. "They not only showed up when asked, but accomplished a lot and played at a high level. We're fortunate to have had that generation of player, but we have to turn the page. I think they (Roenick, Tkachuk and Guerin) deserved a phone call from the GM explaining what was happening and they were grateful for that."

--Mike G. Morreale

Let's have fun!
08.17.2009 / 3:36 PM ET

Team USA GM Brian Burke couldn't have made it more clear Monday morning that the 34 players gathered here for this three-day camp were not trying out for the Olympic team. That process will occur during the first four months of the NHL season as the players are scouted by Team USA's many evaluators.

"This is not a tryout camp, we're not scrimmaging," Burke said. "This is an orientation camp."

For Burke, he envisions the next 72 hours as an opportunity to bring a mostly young, very disparate group together as a more cohesive unit.

"We started team building this morning," Burke said. "This morning on the bus ride over, each player had to introduce his roommate and tell the group one thing about that player that no one knows."

The team certainly had a lot of time for that particular team-building exercise turned a 40-minute ride into one that lasted nearly 90 minutes. But the team-building process continued throughout the morning as Team USA coach Ron Wilson believes team unity is the best possible outcome of these three days.

"Practices in August aren't going to win the Olympics, this is about a mindset and a philosophy," Wilson said. "We're trying to build a team and some camaraderie; trying to put in a mindset into our team of how we want to play and compete. Beyond that, the most important thing is that we pledge to get to know each other because you can't ever become a team unless you trust the guys to the left, right, front and center. That's what we are trying to establish here."

The players are pretty glad that they aren't being judged by their performances here. More than one player admitted Monday morning that they were shaking off some considerable rust.

"It's just a little tune-up to get the hands going," said Ryan Miller, one of the three goalies on hand. I whiffed on a few shots out there (today). Like I said, it was just a chance to get the hands going. We'll start worrying about being a world-class goalie in a month or so."

-- Shawn P. Roarke 

Kane speaks
08.17.2009 / 11:45 AM ET

Patrick Kane just made a short prepared statement before the start of practice. He was flanked by Team USA GM Brian Burke and Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.

He addressed the legal situation he faces in Buffalo where he and his cousin, James Kane, were recently charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal mischief. The incident allegedly occurred in a dispute with a taxi driver about fare.

Kane spoke for 50 seconds Monday morning, stepping to the podium in a black sport coat with a white T-shirt underneath.

"I have been very lucky to achieve every kid's dream to play in the National Hockey League while working for a great organization like the Chicago Blackhawks. Now I also have a chance to play my country, a dream come true for myself and my family.

"I know everyone wants to talk about what happened in Buffalo. As you know, the legal proceedings are pending and I cannot discuss the details at this time. Because I put myself to be in the wrong position at the wrong time, I've caused a lot of pain for my family, my hometown of Buffalo, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks and obviously the great fans we have here in Chicago. For that part, I sincerely apologize.

"Now, it is time for me to move forward. I'm excited to get back to the ice and represent the Chicago Blackhawks and the United States Olympic hockey team. Thank you."

Burke also briefly addressed the Kane situation, saying this incident would not affect his status with the Olympic team and that he feels that Kane is focused and ready to go in this camp.

The other players from Group 2 are now being made available. We'll have more on about Kane's appearance later.

-- Shawn Roarke in the house
08.17.2009 / 10:20 AM ET

We're on site at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Ill. By we, I mean Mike Morreale and myself, as well as Josh and Jason from NHL Studios. We'll have all the news from the United States Olympic Men's Orientation Camp going on here for the next three days.

Here's the first piece of news: There is a lot of traffic in the Chicago area. The players are late arriving today because of traffic issues. By rights, it should be a 45-minute trek from downtown to Woodridge, but it took us twice that long. Good thing we left at 7:15 a.m.

Patrick Kane is supposed to speak this morning and then the players will hit the ice for on-ice sessions. The players are split into two groups and each will skate for an hour. Coach Ron Wilson will speak after the second group finishes its on-ice session.

The other piece of news coming out of today will be the debut of the Team USA jerseys for the 2010 Olympics this morning. The players will take the ice this morning wearing one of three versions of the 2010 Nike Olympic jersey.

--Shawn P. Roarke 

Author: Staff

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