6 Montreal Canadiens Earn Olympic Hockey Camp Invites

Brandon DuBreuil@@brandondubreuilContributor IIIJuly 23, 2013

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 10: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens congratulates goalie Carey Price #31 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in NHL action 4-1 on March 10, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Six Montreal Canadiens have earned invites to their respective countries' Olympic orientation camps, which will be held later this summer in preparation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. 

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and defenseman P.K. Subban will be part of the 47 players traveling to Calgary on August 25 to take part in Hockey Canada's three-day camp.

Price is one of five goaltenders invited to the orientation camp. He will compete with incumbent starter Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Stanley Cup winning goaltender Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith and Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby for one of three spots on the final roster. 

Surprisingly, neither Martin Brodeur nor Marc-Andre Fleury, members of the 2010 gold medal-winning squad, were invited. A strong start to the 2013-14 season will earn them consideration, however. 

Fresh off a career season, Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban will head to Calgary along with 16 other defensemen who will vie for eight final roster spots. Simply winning the award for the top defender in the NHL does not mean he will be a lock for the final roster. 

As TSN.ca points out, four returning defensemen from the 2010 squad shoot right—as does P.K. Subban: 

Yzerman said he favors having an equal balance of right and-left-handed shots on defense, although it is not cast in stone. And he noted the high-powered Soviet teams of the 1970s and 1980s had all left-hand shots.

But Babcock also likes a balance, which could be bad news for younger righty blueliners.

"The best eight will be in the squad and then we'll decide who plays with who," he said. "But when I look at the group, the veterans of last time and the young players coming in, it looks like there's a chance to have a balance.

But we'll watch until the end of the December and see who are the best to help us succeed."

USA Hockey also named its orientation camp invitees on Monday, and Habs forwards Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk will be in attendance. They are part of the 48 players who will meet on August 26 and 27 in Arlington, Virginia. 

Both Pacioretty and Galchenyuk will compete as part of the 24 forwards looking to head to Sochi. Pacioretty, 24, is coming off a season in which he scored 15 goals and 24 assists in 44 games for the Canadiens. A strong start to the season should earn him serious consideration for the final roster.

Galchenyuk, 19, scored nine goals and added 18 assists in his rookie season. Although he did win gold with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships, the young Galchenyuk is likely considered a long shot to head to Russia. 

Defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin have been named to Russia's preliminary Olympic hockey roster. They will compete with 10 other defenders for the chance to represent their country as they host the 2014 Winter Games. 

Markov is a two-time Olympian, representing Russia in both Turin, Italy, and Vancouver, Canada, and he will likely be named to the final squad again, assuming he stays healthy. Emelin, on the other hand, is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery on May 21, 2013, to repair both his ACL and MCL. He's tentatively expected to return to the ice in November, according to NHL.com. 

Some other Canadiens could still earn Olympic camp invites. 

Although team Czech Republic has yet to name its preliminary roster, it's a safe bet that Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec will get an invite. He represented his country at the 2010 Olympic Games. 

Other Canadiens hoping to be invited to their respective nations' camps are defenseman Rafael Diaz of Switzerland and goalie Peter Budaj of Slovakia. Diaz represented Switzerland at the 2013 World Hockey Championships, while Budaj last played for his country in the 2010 World Championships

Update (July 25): Rafael Diaz has been invited to Team Switzerland's orientation camp. 



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