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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Will Sidney Crosby represent Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy?

There’s a definite chance.

Crosby and Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Mario Lemieux and Mark Recchi were on the long list of potential players for Team Canada’s hockey squad when it was released on Wednesday.

“Yeah it’s nice. There’s 81 guys, but it’s nice to be on that list,” said Crosby, the only 18-year-old on the roster. “There’s a chance. I don’t want to think about it too much, but it’s nice to be named to the list definitely.”

Since professionals will compete in men’s hockey once again in Turin, all participating countries have to submit a long list of players by Oct. 24 to the IIHF, NHL and NHLPA. All participating countries must submit a final roster of players taken from the long lists on or before Dec. 22.

“You look at the long list of names and there’s a lot of great players,” Crosby said. “There’s a lot of great guys I’ve watched for a long time. To be on the same list is nice. I don’t know how the process goes from here, but we’ll see.”

Team Canada coach Pat Quinn and other team officials, including Wayne Gretzky, will evaluate the players throughout the next couple months in order to determine the final roster. Crosby would be thrilled to represent his country in Italy in late February.

“Oh, definitely. It’d be an honor and a dream,” he said. “If you look at those names there, it’s going to be an outside chance [to make it], but I am not going to worry about it too much.”

Team Canada’s 81-man list is a virtual “who’s who” of hockey with a mix of veterans like Steve Yzerman, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Brodeur, Lemieux and Recchi and rising stars like Roberto Luongo, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Eric Staal and Jason Spezza. Even though it’s not possible, Canada could field two teams and still contend for a medal with its abundance of talent.

“Definitely. They could have an A and B team,” Crosby said. “It’s amazing when you look at that list of guys and see all the talent. They are all great players. Whoever goes, it’s going to be an unbelievable team.”

Crosby, a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, had the chance to represent his country the past two years at the World Junior Championships. Canada took silver in 2004 in Helsinki, Finland, and gold this year in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A few of his World Junior teammates are on Team Canada’s long list.

“It’s thrilling. A couple of guys I played World Juniors with – [Jeff] Carter, [Michael] Richards, [Patrice] Bergeron – it’s nice to see those guys there as well,” Crosby said. “We had a great team in North Dakota and that kind of shows when you look at the Olympic roster and you see those World Junior guys there.”

Lemieux, 40, captained Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, and to the 2004 World Cup of Hockey championship. Recchi played for Team Canada in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

Following is Team Canada’s 81-player long list for the Turin Games:

GOALTENDERS (9): Ed Belfour (Toronto), Martin Brodeur (New Jersey), Dan Cloutier (Vancouver), Curtis Joseph (Phoenix), Roberto Luongo (Florida), Andrew Raycroft (Boston), Jose Theodore (Montreal), Marty Turco (Dallas), Cam Ward (Carolina).

DEFENSEMEN (23): Adrian Aucoin (Chicago), Rob Blake (Colorado), Jay Bouwmeester (Florida), Dan Boyle (Tampa Bay), Nick Boynton (Boston), Eric Brewer (St. Louis), Eric Desjardins (Philadelphia), Adam Foote (Columbus), Scott Hannan (San Jose), Barret Jackman (St. Louis), Ed Jovanovski (Vancouver), Bryan McCabe (Toronto), Kyle McLaren (San Jose), Derek Morris (Phoenix), Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary), Chris Phillips (Ottawa), Chris Pronger (Edmonton), Wade Redden (Ottawa), Robyn Regehr (Calgary), Sheldon Souray (Montreal), Steve Staios (Edmonton), Brad Stuart (San Jose).

FORWARDS (49): Jason Allison (Toronto), Jason Arnott (Dallas), Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Todd Bertuzzi (Vancouver), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Minnesota), Daniel Briere (Buffalo), Jeff Carter (Philadelphia), Marc Chouinard (Minnesota), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Shane Doane (Phoenix), Kris Draper (Detroit), Simon Gagne (Philadelphia), Dany Heatley (Ottawa), Shawn Horcoff (Edmonton), Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Paul Kariya (Nashville), Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay), Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh), Eric Lindros (Toronto), Joffrey Lupul (Anaheim), John Madden (New Jersey), Kirk Maltby (Detroit), Patrick Marleau (San Jose), Brendan Morrison (Vancouver), Brenden Morrow (Vancouver), Glen Murray (Boston), Rick Nash (Columbus), Rob Niedermayer (Anaheim), Joe Nieuwendyk (Florida), Jeff O’Neill (Toronto), Michael Peca (Edmonton), Keith Primeau (Philadelphia), Mark Recchi (Pittsburgh), Brad Richards (Tampa Bay), Michael Richards (Philadelphia), Michael Ryder (Montreal), Joe Sakic (Colorado), Marc Savard (Atlanta), Brendan Shanahan (Detroit), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton), Jason Spezza (Ottawa), Eric Staal (Carolina), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay), Steve Sullivan (Nashville), Alex Tanguay (Colorado), Joe Thornton (Boston), Scott Walker (Nashville), Wes Walz (Minnesota), Steve Yzerman (Detroit).

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