Excerpts from Wednesday's conference call with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews, who were all named to Canada's 2010 Olympic squad.
Duncan Keith: “I'm extremely happy, my whole family was pretty excited this morning with the news. When your name is listed there, you realize all the great players who play for Canada and are Canadian hockey players. There are so many great players who didn’t make the team, and to be one of the guys... I am fortunate to make the team, and I definitely feel honored to be a part of it and have a chance to make it a success.”
Keith on his pairing with Seabrook: “I think this is our third season being paired up together, and I think the way Brent plays kind of helps my game. I think right from the get-go it was kind of a pretty good pairing, being able to play with him and read off him. He’s a big strong guy, smart and always in good position. I think that really helps my game... I always like playing with someone who shows you support and gives you an out and helps you play your game well... From the start it’s been like that, and sometimes you have to work at it, but I think it’s been pretty good right from the start…We’ve worked through our bumps and ups and downs and I think that’s what’s made us a good pair…”
Brent Seabrook on making the team with Keith: “We’re (Keith) playing against these top lines night in and night out and I think that definitely helped us out. I think it’s good, and I think it’s going to help us out in the tournament as well.”
Seabrook on getting the call: “I was really nervous this morning, then the phone rang and it was a number I didn’t know. So I picked it up and I didn’t really know what to say. I said, "Hi," and he introduced himself and I said, “Oh hey Kevin Lowe,” and he starts laughing. You know, I am just thrilled, excited and honored to be named and play in Vancouver. I have my buddies back home and my family; I’ve gotten text messages and people calling me and congratulating me. It’s very special.”
Jonathan Toews on how confident he was about making the team: “I wasn’t sure. I don’t think the three of us were a 100% sure until we heard our names this morning or we got the phone call. You know, we heard a lot of talk and people gossip and gave their own opinion about who they think is going to be on the team, but until you hear your name mentioned... I was definitely pretty nervous this morning and I definitely think it’s a huge accomplishment for the three of us to have the opportunity to play for this team. We’re definitely pretty excited about it. It was a special moment to share with my parents this morning. Again, it’s kind of funny. My mom is the one that got the phone call, because she had my phone in the kitchen, and she came running into my bedroom jumping up and down and I knew what was going on. It was kind of funny.”
Toews on living out a dream: “We all started out playing hockey somewhere in our hometowns and minor hockey teams. One day at a time you dream of making the NHL and then after you do that you think the ultimate accomplishment would be to represent your country of Canada at the Olympic level…For myself personally, it’s still tough to believe that they chose me and that I am one of the guys they want to win the gold medal. It’s definitely a huge honor.”
Excerpt from Hockey Canada conference call Wednesday afternoon.
Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman on the selection of Keith and Seabrook: “Well, we spent a lot of time discussing it, and finally when it came down to making our decision yesterday, we brought up that specific [thing]. First of all, do we like the pair? And yes, we all liked the pair, so that meant, can both of these players stand on their own? Do they deserve to be on the team? And we all felt pretty strongly that they've both played very well and they belonged on this team and they could play a role on this team. The familiarity of knowing we have a good pair... the Chicago Blackhawks I think have the stingiest defense in the league right now; these are the two players that play against the other team's top players every game, game in, game out, and they're not allowing many goals a game. When we really thought about it, it was like, this is kind of an easy decision for us in that we've got a good pair; we know they work together, there’s chemistry, they’re familiar with one another. Let’s just go with them. Let’s not get cute, let's not overthink this and we’ll work around that. We’re very comfortable with that decision, but again, that's something we talked at length about -- is this the right thing to do? And we all felt pretty strongly at the end of the day that it was the right thing to do.