RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes could again be well-represented in the Winter Olympics.
Forwards Eric Staal and Jordan Staal have been invited to attend Canada’s Olympic orientation camp in August, it was announced Monday, and defenseman Justin Faulk was among those named to Team USA’s camp roster to help in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Forward Alexander Semin has been given an invitation to Russia’s Olympic camp, and forward Tuomo Ruutu and defenseman Joni Pitkanen are on Finland’s national team camp list. Forward Jiri Tlusty should be in the mix for the Czech Republic Olympic team.
“It would be a great honor if we had that many guys participating,” Canes coach Kirk Muller said last week.
The final Olympic rosters will be selected in the fall, and the Olympic hockey competition held in February.
Eric Staal was a member of Canada’s gold-medal winners in the 2010 Vancouver Games but the Canes captain is recovering from a knee injury suffered in May in the IIHF World Championships in Sweden. It’s the first invite for Jordan Staal, who also competed in the Worlds for Canada this year.
Faulk, 21, is considered an up-and-comer for the U.S., having put together strong performances in the World Championships for Team USA the past two years and having played for U.S. junior national teams.
The Team Canada camp invitations likely created more disappointment for Canes goaltender Cam Ward.
Ward was hopeful of making the 2010 Olympic team. He attended Canada’s camp in August 2009, only to be limited bu a sore back, and later suffered a slashed leg that knocked him out of the Canes lineup in November 2009.
Ward was sidelined again this past season after a third-degree knee sprain March 3 that proved season-ending. Muller said last week Ward is healthy and “raring to go” this season, noting he hoped the goalie would be in the Team Canada camp considerations.
Five goalies were given invitations: Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, Roberto Luongo of Vancouver, Braden Holtby of Washington, Mike Smith of Phoenix and Carey Price of Montreal.
Defenseman Marc Staal of the New York Rangers also was on Canada’s list, making it three Staals headed to the camp in Calgary.
In addition to Eric Staal’s gold medal, Canes defenseman Tim Gleason played for Team USA in 2010 and returned with silver. Pitkanen and Ruutu won bronze with Finland.
Alexander: 919-829-8945; Twitter: @ice_chip