Now that the two cartels known as the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation have formally announced their agreement to have NHL players participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the federations are announcing which players are welcome to attend summer "orientation" camps so they can be eligible for humiliating roster cuts later in the year.
The lists includes several New York Islanders, though that's really of little bearing on whether these particular Isles will be playing in the tournament in February 2014. Nonetheless, it's July, so may the jockeying begin:
- The U.S. federation invited 48 players from 24 teams, including Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo.
- Proving that they are a player weaker than the United States of 'Merica, the Canadians invited 47 players including John Tavares and Travis Hamonic, though the latter faces steep competition to be on the final squad.
- Russia included Evgeni Nabokov -- but not Ilya Bryzgalov -- in their collection of five goalskies among their rather modest 35 players invited.
- As previously noted, Lubomir Visnovsky was invited to Slovakia's current camp and is probably a lock for the final roster, but he's not in the orientation camp.
- You can also expect Islanders speedster Michael Grabner to be on Austria's roster ... but if Austria has an orientation camp, the mainstream media don't care.
- Update: In the ex-Islanders category, Jesse Joensuu and Sean Bergenheim are on the Finland invite list.
Wings stern jaw and fan of late timeouts Mike Babcock will coach Canada, while Dan Bylsma will coach the U.S. If history is our guide, Bylsma will "try" to keep players from leaving the bench to be third man in a fight.
Most of these camps take place in late August, when you can commence worrying about an untimely injury for a flawed competition getting in the way of the regular season.