Thomas, Kessel invited to Olympic orientation



Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas and right winger Phil Kessel were both officially invited to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Orientation Camp today by USA Hockey. The camp will be held Aug.17-19 in Woodbridge, Ill., as an aid in choosing the members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Vancouver in February.

“I was happy (when I got the call),” Thomas told today via cell phone. “I found out through a message from (Olympic team GM) Brian Burke. My phone was out of range. I’m up here in Vermont and when I go out on the lake, my phone doesn’t work. So that’s how I found out.”

Neither Thomas nor Kessel have competed in an Olympics before. Kessel’s rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery will limit his activity at the camp. But Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner in the NHL, would seem to be the favorite for not only a roster spot but the No. 1 goaltender’s job with his only competition coming from Ryan Miller of Buffalo and Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles. But, as usual, Thomas isn’t taking anything for granted.

“The Olympics, as I’ve said time and again, was a dream of mine before playing in the NHL was,” the netminder explained. “But this is just the first step. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I’ve got a ways to go and I need to keep playing the way I’ve been playing the last couple years to earn a spot.”

Thomas didn’t even let himself assume he would get invited to orientation camp. He admitted that he was hoping, but also not thinking much about it during the summer — especially because he’s been “catching so many fish.”

Thomas will get to have a reunion of sorts with his former Providence Bruins (AHL) head coach Scott Gordon, who yesterday was announced as an Olympic Team assistant. And despite the youth and inexperience on the Olympic stage of many of the other 33 players, Thomas said he knows many of them from the World Championship two years ago, NHLPA meetings and other events.

Over the next month plus, Thomas will run some camps for kids. After doing it for the first time last summer, he had to add a third session because of the camps’ popularity. Thomas thinks the camps will be even better this season because he won’t be as nervous passing on his knowledge. Now those kids know they’ll be taking their lessons for a potential Olympian.

Here’s the complete camp roster:

Name Ht (cm) Wt (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown NHL Team


Ryan Miller 6-2 (188) 166 (75) 1/17/80 L East Lansing, Mich. Buffalo Sabres

Jonathan Quick 6-1 (185) 216 (98) 1/21/86 L Milford, Conn. Los Angeles Kings

Tim Thomas 5-11 (180) 201 (91) 4/15/74 L Flint, Mich. Boston Bruins


Tom Gilbert 6-3 (191) 206 (93) 1/10/83 R Minneapolis, Minn. Edmonton Oilers

Tim Gleason 6-0 (183) 217 (98) 1/29/83 L Clawson, Mich. Carolina Hurricanes

Ron Hainsey 6-3 (191) 205 (93) 3/24/81 L Bolton, Conn. Atlanta Thrashers

Erik Johnson 6-4 (193) 219 (99) 3/21/88 R Bloomington, Minn. St. Louis Blues

Jack Johnson 6-1 (185) 225 (102) 1/13/87 L Indianapolis, Ind Los Angeles Kings

Mike Komisarek 6-4 (193) 243 (110) 1/19/82 R West Islip, N.Y. Montreal Canadiens

Paul Martin 6-1 (185) 195 (89) 3/5/81 L Minneapolis, Minn. New Jersey Devils

Brooks Orpik 6-2 (188) 219 (99) 9/26/80 L San Francisco, Calif. Pittsburgh Penguins

Brian Rafalski 5-10 (178) 191 (87) 9/28/73 R Dearborn, Mich. Detroit Red Wings

Rob Scuderi 6-0 (183) 218 (99) 12/30/78 L Syosset, N.Y. Pittsburgh Penguins

Ryan Suter 6-1 (185) 194 (88) 1/21/85 L Madison, Wis. Nashville Predators

Ryan Whitney 6-4 (193) 219 (99) 2/19/83 L Boston, Mass. Anaheim Ducks


David Backes 6-3 (191) 216 (98) 5/1/84 R Minneapolis, Minn. St. Louis Blues

David Booth 6-0 (183) 212 (96) 11/24/84 L Detroit, Mich. Florida Panthers

Dustin Brown 6-0 (183) 207 (94) 11/4/84 R Ithaca, N.Y. Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Byfuglien 6-3 (191) 247 (112) 3/27/85 R Minneapolis, Minn. Chicago Blackhawks

Ryan Callahan 5-11 (180) 188 (85) 3/21/85 R Rochester, N.Y. New York Rangers

Chris Drury 5-10 (178) 190 (86) 8/20/76 R Trumbull, Conn. New York Rangers

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