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NHL

Saad, Gibson receive USA invitation

| Monday, July 22, 2013, 4:51 p.m.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Blackhawks' Brandon Saad (left) celebrates a goal by teammate Michal Handzus during the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Saad, a Pittsburgh native, was invited to Team USA's Olympic orientation camp.

The Winter Olympics already will have a decidedly Pittsburgh feel because of the number of Penguins players, coaches and front office members who will be involved in the hockey competition.

There might be a couple of Pittsburgh natives added to the mix, too.

Brandon Saad and John Gibson have been invited by coach Dan Bylsma to Team USA's orientation camp next month in Arlington, Va.

“It's an honor any time you can represent your country,” Gibson said Monday. “And to get a chance to hear your name involved in Olympic talk is an honor in and of itself.”

Gibson is regarded as one of hockey's best young goaltenders, and the Anaheim second-round pick already has established himself as an outstanding performer in international events.

The Whitehall native led the United States junior team to an Under-18 World Championship in January and was named MVP of the tournament.

This spring, Gibson led Team USA to a bronze medal in the World Championships.

Brian Burke, the former Toronto general manager who is a scout with Anaheim and an advisor to Team USA, said during the telecast of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft that Gibson “is going to be a great one” and hinted that he would get invited to the camp.

Making the Olympic squad will be difficult for Gibson, who will be joined in camp by NHL standouts Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Craig Anderson and Ryan Miller. Still, many within American hockey circles believe he is the future of Team USA.

“I'm just looking forward to going there and learning a lot and enjoying the experience,” Gibson said.

Saad became the first Pittsburgh-born, Pittsburgh-trained player to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup in June when he helped the Chicago Blackhawks to a championship in his rookie season.

“I'm very excited to get invited to a camp that they think represents the best American players,” Saad said Monday. “To get a chance to represent my country is a huge honor. I'm very excited.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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