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USA Camp: Day 2

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.

Ron Wilson: DiPietro not out of the mix yet
08.18.2009 / 7:20 PM ET

Team USA coach Ron Wilson informed the media on Tuesday that New York Islanders oft-injured goalie Rick DiPietro shouldn't be forgotten.

"Ricky would have been considered for this camp but right now he's still rehabbing (following two knee surgeries) and is a couple of months away," Wilson said. "But don't be surprised if he doesn't battle his way back into the mix. My feeling is while we may not be as deep as other teams, in terms of talent, we're just about as good as anyone."

DiPietro was limited to five appearances with the Islanders last season and finished with a 3.52 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. DiPietro has had three operations over the course of one year, including hip and left knee surgery.

"He's working as hard as he can right now and we realize he has to get ready for the Isles and that's his priority at this stage," Wilson said. "Once the season starts, we'll see how he is."

Wilson was also quick to note that Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick could surprise a lot of people this season.

"Jonathan is an up-and-comer and those who have watched him play know how unbelievable a goalie he is," he said. "We'll be reading about him in the future. If the three goalies currently in our camp (Quick, Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller) are in a dead heat at the time we need to make our decisions for Team USA, we'll have to factor in how each goalie has performed in past playoffs and how they each handled that pressure."

-- Mike G. Morreale

Better safe than sorry
08.18.2009 / 4:55 PM ET

Paul Martin did not take part in the on-ice workouts Tuesday.

"He tweaked his hamstring running on a track here in Minnesota as part of his training program," Wilson said Tuesday afternoon. "He could go on the ice, but we didn't come here to hurt anybody. So, he's doing a lot of off-ice stuff and paying attention in meetings and the other things that we have scheduled."

It's unclear at this time if Martin will take part in Wednesday's on-ice session. But, the other 33 players will all be on the Seven Bridges Ice Arena surface tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., a departure from the split-session format that was used the first two days.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Take me out to the ballgame
08.18.2009 / 10:59 AM ET

The crew is back at it for Day 2 of the 2009 Men's Olympic Orientation Camp here at Seven Bridges Ice Arena. NHL player's association executive director Paul Kelly and USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean opened with a statement regarding the OneGoal Equipment donation from the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Program.

USA Hockey director Dave Fischer also informed everyone that all 34 players at the camp will take in tonight's baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago between the White Sox and Kansas City Royals. Olympic hopefuls Mike Modano and Dustin Byfuglien will be on the mound to throw out the first pitch. Modano would actually be throwing out the pitch but Byfuglien will join him on the mound -- seniority wins out here.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Chelios in the house
08.18.2009 / 10:54 AM ET

Chris Chelios would love to be among the 34 players out on the Seven Bridges Ice Arena surface competing for a place on the 2010 Olympic team. But that's not happening for the 47-year-old defenseman, who also is looking for a NHL job as an unrestricted free agent.

Instead Chelios is here as a special assistant. Monday, he took the ice and helped put the players through the paces. But his main job is to serve as a sounding board and a "tribal storyteller," for the young players, according to Team USA coach Ron Wilson.

"I certainly believe in mentoring," Wilson said Monday. "Obviously, having Chelli involved in the role as special assistant (is part of that).

"He still wants to play (in the NHL), so I don't know what his role is going to be. If he doesn't play, I'd like him to be what Joe Nieuwendyk was for me last year (in Toronto), a veteran that (the players) all greatly respect. You could make an argument that (Chelios) is the greatest American player. You could say Mike Modano, Pat Lafontaine, Jeremy Roenick. Chris has been in every one of these battles. He's a true warrior. He works. He was outskating some of our guys today." 

Maybe Chelios, a famed workout fiend, was outskating some of the Olympian hopefuls because he was auditioning for a job with the Maple Leafs, the NHL home of Wilson and Team USA GM Brian Burke, who holds the same title in Toronto.

Wilson suggested as much in Monday afternoon's press conference.

"You get Chelli in the corner and he pulls you aside and he's like, '(Do) you guys have room in Toronto? You could use an extra defenseman. I know an American coach that would like to have a guy like me. You even get, 'Is there anyway I can make this (Olympic) team?'"

--Shawn P. Roarke
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