Team Canada, helmed and overseen by Lightning brass Steve Yzerman announced its invite roster on Monday afternoon. Those on the roster are openly invited to orientation camp taking place in Calgary, Alberta in late August. It's a stepping stone toward the ultimate goal of completing Team Canada's roster for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Of the 47 players invited to Team Canada's camp, two Lightning players have received invitations while two former Lightning players of note are also on set to participate in orientation camp.
Center Steven Stamkos and wing Martin St. Louis, the potent duo that epitomize the Lightning's offense, have both been invited to Team Canada's camp.
St. Louis had participated in the 2006 Olympic Games in Italy with Team Canada. He had also been invited to the orientation cam p for Team Canada in 2009 (for the 2010 Vancouver games) but was not on the final roster for Team Canada. As for Stamkos, this is his first Olympic orientation invite. There was scuttlebutt in 2010 about Stamkos (or St. Louis) being replacement players for injured starters on Team Canada, but that never came to fruition.
Also invited to Calgary for camp are former Lightning goalie Mike Smith and former Bolts defenseman Dan Boyle. Boyle, now with the Sharks, helped Team Canada win Gold at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
After the invitations of St. Louis and Stamkos, the Lightning have a total of five players invited to national orientation camps. Victor Hedman has been invited to Team Sweden and Team Finland has invited both Lightning defenseman Sami Salo and center Valtteri Filppula. Team USA did not invite any of the Lightning's American players (Nate Thompson, Ryan Malone and Matt Carle among them).
There's still a chance for other Lightning players and prospects to head to Sochi come next February. Other players from the Lightning system may get Olympic camp invites, defenseman Radko Gudas is chief among them (for the Czech Republic). Richard Panik could very well get an invite for Slovakia's camp, while Ondrej Palat and Andrej Sustr are dark horse candidates for slots with the Czech Republic.
Honestly, the orientation camp rosters are sort of meaningless. While a good bulk of players invited will make their national team, it doesn't mean they all will. Nor does it mean non-invited players have no chance whatsoever.