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After Hockey Canada announced its list of invitees to Team Canada Olympic Orientation Camp, Bruin Marc Savard was mentioned repeatedly. However, it’s not because he will be joining Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby or fellow Bruin Milan Lucic at the camp. It’s because he won’t.
Savard, who recorded 88 points in 82 regular season games for the Bruins this past year, was not one of the 46 players invited to the camp. While this does not mean that Savard cannot make the team, it does not bode well for his chances of playing for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the last two Olympics, only players invited to the camp made the team. The odds are further stacked against him in terms of sheer numbers. Olympic hockey teams are only allowed to field 23 players, meaning that Steve Yzerman, the executive director of the program, will have to cut the number of invitees exactly in half.
While there are certainly a great number of talented Canadian hockey players, Marc Savard was snubbed. Of the fifteen centers invited – which includes former Bruin Joe Thornton, the two Staals, Eric and Jordan (of the Carolina Hurricans and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively), and Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanch (who has not even decided if he will be returning to hockey) – only two had more points than Savard this past season and he was the fourth leading scoring in the NHL amongst Canadians. While Savard’s defensive ability has been viewed as lacking, his +25 rating last season was superior to all of the invited centers’ ratings.
“He’s a very good player and at the end of the day, when we put this list together, we wanted to bring in some different types of players – maybe some guys who aren’t leading their teams in scoring but are very good players in a different role,” said Yzerman on Savard.
The camp, which is scheduled to take place August 24-27 at the Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, will also be missing many other familiar names, including Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, who played with Yzerman, was managed by Team Canada general manger Ken Holland, and is currently coached by Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock. Jason Spezza, Marty Turco, and Steven Stamkos were also not extended invitations.
For the Bruins, the positive news is that Lucic was given a well-deserved invite to the Saddledome, meaning that he could be representing Team Canada in his hometown. Lucic is the third Bruin to be invited to an Olympic camp, joining Phil Kessel and Tim Thomas, who were invited to participate in with Team USA. While Savard will certainly be wishing his teammates well in their Olympic campaigns, he deserves to be playing alongside and against them.