Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/26/13
They rolled them out with machine-like efficiency in three groups on the opening day of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey orientation camp. First there was Steve Yzerman and his management group then Mike Babcock and his coaching staff and finally Sidney Crosby and four other players who helped Canada win the gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver. For a full hour talk talk talk. No topic left uncovered. The challenges of playing hockey on the bigger European ice surface. What went wrong in Turin during the 2006 Olympics. What went right in Vancouver and Salt Lake City during the two Olympics that bookended the debacle in Italy. Russia’s anti-gay laws and what if anything can be done to put pressure on changing them and making sport more accessible to all. Then there was the insurance problem which is why the players won’t go on the ice to practise this week but will have to content themselves with walk-throughs strategy sessions and bonding events. There will be a battle for the No. 1 goaltending job which was mostly a given in the heyday of Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur but is now a wide-open competition. Roberto Luongo was there trying to talk Olympics but he was constantly detoured into a discussion of his professional career now that he is the starter again in Vancouver after the Canucks unexpectedly traded away Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils last June at the NHL entry draft. Luongo is one of the more interesting athletes on the professional sporting landscape – usually emotional passionate funny and open. In an era when most sentences that spill from the mouths of most players can be a bland recitation of benign facts and observations Luongo is often extraordinarily candid.
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