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Monday, December 15, 2008
Latest buzz on 2010 Olympic teams


We thought we'd update our ESPN.com puckheads on the latest plans of the 2010 Olympic hockey teams, north and south of the border.

Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane is noticeably stronger this season and hopes that helps with puck control.
Team USA
There's been a staff addition of late.

"Because I've shifted to the Eastern Conference, we've added another GM as a scout, [Los Angeles Kings GM] Dean Lombardi," Team USA GM Brian Burke told ESPN.com on Monday.

The Olympic management committee also includes Nashville Predators GM David Poile, Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero.

They've been hard at work.

"We've been rating players since the regular season began, we have our own rating system," said Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I don't know exactly how many reports we've filed, we're in the hundreds.

"Each guy on the committee has had to do a ghost roster, looking ahead and saying this might be how the team could look like. We've also put together a priority watch list. Every night we see an American player, we file a report. We'll have a pretty comprehensive database by the end of the season, which will help us put our orientation camp together."

Team USA's orientation camp is slated to be held in late August and Burke hopes to have "30 or fewer players" attend.

The management group has already had two full staff meetings. They'll meet again in February, then again at the March GM meetings in Naples, Fla., and again at the June NHL draft in Montreal.

"If you look what we're going to have, there's a good chance we're going to have a real young team," Burke said. "The World Hockey Championships in Halifax [last spring] marked a turning of the page for USA Hockey with respect that it's the first team that we put into international competition without one of those great warriors on it -- those guys that have carried the flag so well for so long."

Burke was referring to the great core of American players who have long been at the forefront of the team, players such as Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Chris Chelios, Doug Weight, etc.

"And we're not saying that this team wouldn't have one of those warriors on it," Burke said. "Tkachuk had a great start and Modano is playing better. We haven't ruled out anybody, but it's clear, looking at the names, that it's going to be a younger team. There's going to be significant turnover."

Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane -- the American team won't have a shortage of young talent.

Mike Green
Capitals defenseman Mike Green was on Hockey Canada's long list for the 2010 Games.
Team Canada
The Canadian Olympic brass gathered in Montreal for a six-hour meeting Friday before taking in Saturday night's Capitals-Canadiens game.

Team Canada Olympic boss Steve Yzerman met with the rest of the management staff, including Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, St. Louis Blues executive Doug Armstrong and Hockey Canada executive Johnny Misley. (Advisor Wayne Gretzky couldn't be present because of his coaching duties with Phoenix, but he's always in contact).

Together, they narrowed down their long list of potential roster players to just more than 40.

"We'll meet again after the [March 4] trade deadline and look at our long list again," Yzerman told ESPN.com over the weekend.

In the meantime, they keep in daily contact with each other.

The group was hoping to take a close look at Canadiens goalie Carey Price, but he was hurt and didn't dress last Thursday night, when Yzerman and company got there, or Saturday. But the management group did get a close look at Washington blueliner Mike Green, who not surprisingly made their initial long list.

The way we see it, the locks on defense right now are Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer (if he plays next season), Shea Weber and Dion Phaneuf. That leaves three spots open. Green, Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, Jay Bouwmeester, Dennis Wideman, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are among those we believe are on the radar.