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ARLINGTON, Va. -- The U.S. hockey team has flipped the script since the last Winter Olympics. The Americans expect to be a favourite to win gold in six months at the Sochi Games after saying they were underdogs in 2010, when they won silver and were a goal away from knocking off the host Canadians. "The only people that thought we had a chance were probably the guys in the locker room, or our coaches and management of USA Hockey," Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane said Monday. "This time, its different." USA Hockey invited 48 of its top prospects -- including 16 players from its 2010 team -- for off-ice workouts and meetings at the Washington Capitals training facility. "Even though we invited 48 guys, I got calls from a few agents, Why not my guy? I get that," said general manager David Poile, whose day job is running the Nashville Predators. "We put some guys on the board that arent at this camp that we should be looking at. Were totally open-minded. "We have to take the 25 guys that give us the best chance to win." The players will get picked to play based on their body of work and how well they perform early in the NHL season. The final roster is expected to be announced on Jan. 1 after Detroit and Toronto play in the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium. Brian Burke, the teams general manager in 2010, set up an advisory group to assemble the roster. Poile plans to follow the model over the next four months. NHL general managers Stan Bowman, Dean Lombardi, Dale Tallon and Paul Holmgren along with scout Don Waddell will assist Poile, Ray Shero, the teams associate GM, Burke, the teams director of player personnel and USA Hockey executive Jim Johannson. "Well have much harder decisions to make, picking this team than we had 2010," Burke said. "Thats what you want." The advisory group met for five hours on Sunday, spending some of that time on talking about a possible roster and some tough decisions it will have to make. "We have 16 returning Olympians that have a chance to make the team," Poile said. "Weve got way more depth, and way more quality than we had in 2010." Six goaltenders were invited to the camp, and three will make the trip to Sochi. Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was named MVP of the ice hockey tournament at the Vancouver Games, but hes not a lock to keep his job because Los Angeles Kings star Jonathan Quick has been perhaps the worlds best at stopping shots the past two seasons. NHL goalies Jimmy Howard, Cory Schneider, Craig Anderson, along with 20-year-old prospect Josh Gibson, also are in the mix. Miller, despite his performance in 2010, was not named to the teams leadership group that includes defenceman Ryan Suter and forwards David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and Zach Parise. While it would be a big surprise if any of those leaders didnt end up representing the U.S. in Russia, they dont have any guarantees. "Nobody has been given a position," Poile insisted. Twenty-four forwards and 18 defencemen are attending the pre-Olympic camp, some of whom, such as 18-year-old Seth Jones, are there simply to experience what it is like to be around the countrys best hockey players. Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who succeeds Ron Wilson, said his job is to pass along some information and messages to the players over the course of a few days to get them ready for a quick turnaround at the Sochi Games. The NHL has some games scheduled on Feb. 8, and the Americans -- along with the other players in the league from other countries -- wont have much time to prepare for their first game. "We wont see these guys for another six months," Bylsma said. "Thats not comfortable for a coach." Bylsma, though, seems at ease with Team USA publicly liking its chances to win gold for the first time since the Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union in 1980. "Its a different expectation and different mindset," he said. "Four years ago, we were under the radar and it certainly was a younger team and didnt have those expectations. This is a team that largely was in Vancouver and was in the gold-medal game and was a shot away from winning a gold medal. "Now, the expectation is much different. Were going over to Sochi, Russia, with the mindset of winning a gold medal." LOS ANGELES -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- In a story April 28 about responses to racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, The Associated Press misidentified a lawmaker who denounced the statements. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, spoke out against the comments, not Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino. The NAACP has decided against honouring Donald Sterling with a lifetime achievement award from its Los Angeles chapter after the Clippers owner allegedly made racist comments in a recorded conversation. Donations made by Sterling, who has owned the team since 1981, will be returned, Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles NAACP, said at a news conference Monday. Jenkins would not say how much money was involved. "There is a personal, economic and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations," he said. Sterling, 80, had been scheduled to receive the honour on May 15 as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles branch of the nations oldest civil rights organization. He had been chosen to receive the award because of his long history of donating to minority charities and giving game tickets to inner city children, Jenkins said. The NAACP has honoured Sterling several times in the past. The Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation gave $5,000 to the NAACPs Los Angeles chapter in 2010, according to tax records, and Sterling was listed as his foundations only contributor. There were no records of further NAACP contributions in 2011 or 2012, the latest years for which records were available. Sterlings purported comments have overshadowed the NBAs opening playoff round and prompted an NBA investigation. The league is planning a Tuesday news conference to discusss the probe.dddddddddddd There has been no official confirmation that it is Sterling on the recording, portions of which were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin. Sterling "is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings," according to a statement from team president Andy Roeser on Saturday. Neither Sterling nor his representatives have since commented on the controversy. Jenkins, of the NAACP, was asked how detrimental he considered Sterlings alleged remarks. "On a scale of one to 10? Eleven," he said. "It goes back to a segregation system and a time that nobody in America is proud of." Members of the state Legislatures black caucus joined those denouncing Sterling. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, said lawmakers should not ignore the countrys history of discrimination. "Once again we are reminded of the ugliness and sometimes what appears to be the pervasive permanence of hatred," Weber said while speaking in support of a resolution declaring Holocaust Remembrance Week. "So I want to simply challenge us as we go forward to not think that, Yes, we see the past, but recognize the past has a profound impact on the present. And if we are not conscious (of it), it will direct our future." Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton and secretary of the black caucus, blasted Sterling and compared him to a "slave master" looking down at his African-American players. "Its an utter embarrassment," Hall said in an interview after the floor session, "not just to the NBA, but also to all the individuals who believe that at some point, in California at least, we have risen above that, and we obviously havent." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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