Kane excited about Olympic camp

Updated: July 1, 2009, 2:43 PM ET
By Al Cimaglia | ESPNChicago.com

It has been quite a summer for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.

First, the 20-year-old winger was chosen to have his image featured on the cover of EA Sports "NHL 10." Another honor came Tuesday, as Kane received an invitation to participate in the U.S. Olympic orientation camp from Aug. 17-19 at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Ill.

The following is from a teleconference with Kane as transcribed on the Blackhawks' Web site:

Patrick, what are your initial thoughts about being invited to participate in the orientation camp?

I think it's pretty exciting. It's a big thrill at this point in my career to be part of USA Hockey. In my career today, I've played with the national program and the world championships and being a part of various USA teams. This is where I want to be in my career right now. I think it's exciting to be on a stage like this with the Olympics coming up, and you finally start to feel it coming up with orientation camp and the announcement of players who will be going to Vancouver. Right now, it's just an honor to be part of this group, and hopefully I can keep going. Obviously, it's a step in the right direction to make the team, and there's no better feeling than to be part of that team in 2010 that goes to Vancouver.

Who are you looking forward to playing with the most among the list of invited players?

There are a lot of good players. It's just nice to be there in the first place and to have the camp in Chicago. I think there are a lot of good players like Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, and I've played with guys like Erik Johnson before, so it's going to be fun to play with those guys again. Hopefully, they move on, too.

Was making the Olympic team one of your goals growing up?

To be honest with you, it's always been making the NHL. I had heard a couple of years ago that the Olympics were coming up and I could maybe be a part of that team. Now, I'm part of the camp, and I can hopefully make the team. The team's going to be coming along pretty fast, and now it's one of my goals to be on it. It's one of the highest levels of hockey that you can play, and obviously, every country is trying to put a team together to represent themselves. I've always been a big USA Hockey fan and part of the USA Hockey family; hopefully I can remain a player in the USA Hockey family and play well in this tournament -- if I make it. I want to put something good together for the country in this tournament.

Can you tell me what you are doing this summer to become a better hockey player, and are you looking forward to ... what the Blackhawks can add via free agency?

Yeah, you know, it's a fun day to watch, and I never really know what to expect. Obviously, there are some decisions to be made, and we have all the trust in our management and what they have been doing. They put a great team together this past year that got us into the third round. Who knows how far we could have gone if we played as well as we could have, but we ran into a hot team in Detroit. It will be exciting to watch, especially when there are a lot of things happening around the league. As far as myself this summer, I have been pretty much relaxing and working out in the gym, trying to spend more time getting stronger and faster. I'm just going to keep working on my game.

What do you think this means for [Dustin Byfuglien] to be invited here? He is someone maybe people didn't think about going to this camp.

Well, he was invited to the world championship team a couple years ago, and he had an injury of some sort, and with things like that, you miss out on opportunities that might get you looked at for a team like this. But you want a guy like him. He dominated in some of the playoff games and was such a critical person for the team. He's got a lot of skill and is a young guy who is coming into his own, and he's got a big shot. When he puts his mind to it, he can be one of the best power players in our league. That's probably what they are looking at, I would think. When he comes out and plays really hard for you, he can be a key contributor in the game.