LOS ANGELES — On January 7, Los Angeles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov, along with forward Jeff Carter, were named to their national teams that will compete at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia next month.
The 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament runs from February 12 – 23, 2014.
Voynov will represent Russia, while Doughty and Carter will play for Canada.
The three players join Kings teammates Dustin Brown (United States), Jonathan Quick (United States) and Anze Kopitar (Slovenia), who were named to their country’s Olympic squads just days earlier.
“I really didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said. “If you look at the guys they had to choose from, there’s so many guys, so many different scenarios they need to look at, so it’s a huge honor. I’m definitely excited. It should be a good time.”
Carter said that he got the good news early in the morning.
“I got a call this morning from [Boston Bruins General Manager] Peter Chiarelli, [a member of Canada’s National Men’s Team management group],” said Carter. “I got a 7:00 AM call. Short and sweet, just congratulating me on making the team, and a few little words. That was about it.”
One might think that the news would be exciting enough to make him jump up and immediately call family and friends to share the good news.
Carter went back to sleep.
“I laid back down for another half hour,” Carter noted. “I didn’t call anybody. It was early.”
Carter barely told his girlfriend.
“After he hung up the phone, he rolled over and went back to sleep,” said his girlfriend, Megan. “I said, ‘Uh so? What did they say?’ He responded, ‘I made it, but I need to sleep thirty more minutes.’”
“It was a game day and as excited as he was, he needed to focus on what was important for that day and for the Kings,” added Megan.
“It was a good wake-up call,” Carter said. “It’s something that I’ve worked towards for awhile now, missing out four years ago. It was a goal of mine to leave it all out there, and give myself the best chance possible to make it. I’m just excited that it all worked out.”
After the Canadian team was announced by Hockey Canada, there was immediate criticism of Carter’s selection.
“Everybody’s biased,” said Kings center Jarret Stoll. “Everybody has their opinions. If you play for the San Jose Sharks, or if you play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, you’re going to think your teammate deserved to be on the team, as well.”
“We see Jeff Carter every day, and what he brings,” added Stoll. “Enough said.”
Carter shrugged off the criticism.
“There’s a lot of coaches out there, a lot of GM’s,” he noted, taking a rather pointed jab at all the armchair coaches and general managers. “I think I can bring a lot to the team. Speed and size, and I feel like I can put the puck in the net.”
Carter said that the larger ice surface used in international play suits his game.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve played on the big ice,” he said. “A big part of my game is getting the puck and going, with speed up the wall. There will be a little extra room out there, so it should be a lot of fun.”
Although this will be his first time playing in the Olympics, Carter is no stranger to international competition, having represented Canada at the World Championship in 2006, in the World Junior Championship (Under-20) in 2004 (won the silver medal) and 2005 (won the gold medal), and in the World Under-18 Championship in 2003 (won the gold medal).
For the 2014 Olympics, Carter will re-unite with several teammates from Canada’s 2005 World Junior team, including Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry (both with the Anaheim Ducks).
“There’s a lot of guys on that team who I’ve played with all the way up,” said Carter. “World Juniors, under 18’s—everything. It’s always fun when I get to play with them again, so I’m looking forward to it.”
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