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Four Sharks Among Gretzky's Initial Olympic Hopefuls

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

Team Canada Executive Director Wayne Gretzky, along with Head Coach Pat Quinn and Team Canada's management and coaching staff, announced today that Sharks forward Patrick Marleau and defensemen Scott Hannan, Kyle McLaren and Brad Stuart are among 81 potential players for Canada's Men's hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

 

Only three teams (Boston, Edmonton and Philadelphia) have more players (five) represented on the list than San Jose and the Sharks are the only NHL team with three defenseman selected.

 

Marleau and Hannan both represented Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2005 World Championships.  In addition, they were invited to the Summer Olympic Development Camp for Team Canada in August.  Stuart played for Team Canada in the 1999 World Junior Championships and at the 2001 World Championships, where he was a teammate with McLaren.

 

Entering tonight's game at Minnesota, Marleau leads the Sharks in scoring with 8 points (4-4=8) in six games.  Hannan tops the team in average ice time with 25:13, followed by Stuart (22:34) and McLaren (21:38).  Stuart leads all Sharks blueliners with four points (1-3=4) and McLaren has three (1-2=3).

 

All participating countries are required to select their final Olympic men's hockey rosters of 23 players, from these long lists, on or before Dec. 22

 "As a country, we are very lucky to have such a wealth of talented players to select from," said Gretzky.  "As a management and coaching staff, the task of reducing this list to 23 players will be challenging as we strive to defend Olympic Gold in Turin."

San Jose has several other players that will likely be under consideration for their countries as well.  Among the possible candidates are:  Evgeni Nabokov (Russia), Milan Michalek (Czech), Nils Ekman (Sweden), Vesa Toskala (Finland), Marco Sturm (Germany), Marcel Goc (Germany), Christian Ehrhoff (Germany), Niko Dimitrakos (United States), Tom Preissing (United States), Jim Fahey (United States), prospect Matt Carle (United States) and prospect Doug Murray (Sweden).

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