Methot gets Sochi shot

Marc Methot will be the lone Ottawa Senators representative when the Canadian Olympic hockey team holds its orientation camp later this summer.

Methot gets Sochi shot
Marc Methot talks to the media as the Ottawa Senator players have meetings with the coaches and clean out their personal effects from Scotiabank Place before they head off for the summer. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen)

Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot just had his summer vacation cut short and he’s not complaining one bit.

The Ottawa native and defensive stalwart on the Senators’ blueline is one of 47 players who have been invited to the Team Canada Orientation Camp Aug. 25-28 in Calgary, the first step in the selection process to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Methot, who came into his own in a Senators uniform in 2012-13, got the call Sunday night and was on a golf course Monday afternoon by the time the news became public.

Just his selection to the camp is a huge achievement, considering Methot was drafted 168th overall back in 2003. Still, his stock has long been on the rise and he made a case for himself as a solid member of Team Canada at both the 2011 and 2012 world championships.

“I think I turned a lot of heads with my play on the big (ice) surface,” said Methot. “I think a big season is because of how I played on the big surface. A lot of it is about skating, and having my skating ability mixed in with the defensive game surely helped.

“Aside from being able to wear the Senators jersey in my hometown, I can’t think of a better thing (than) to be on the world stage. It’s a high pressure situation and, as players, we feed on that. Going there for Canada, anything short of a gold is a disappointment. Playing with all those great players would be awesome … if I get that opportunity.”

Methot is one of three locals invited to the camp, along with San Jose Shark defenceman Dan Boyle and Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

Also invited is former Ottawa 67’s star Logan Couture, who is quickly becoming the leader with the Sharks.

USA Hockey, too, announced its list of invitees Monday, and Senators goalie Craig Anderson and newly-acquired winger Bobby Ryan are among the hopefuls.

Anderson and Ryan were locks for the U.S. camp.

Methot’s inclusion might come as a surprise to many, though certainly not to anyone who watched him in his first season in a Senators uniform.

The 28-year-old’s career has taken off since coming over in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, his name now right there with the who’s who of NHL blueliners: Karl Alzner, Jay Bouwmeester, Boyle, Drew Doughty, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Travis Hamonic, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Dion Phaneuf, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, Marc Staal, PK Subban, Marc-Édouard Vlasic and Shea Weber.

That’s great company for a defencemen with just nine career NHL goals over five full seasons and 322 games, and a testament to his responsible play in his own end.

“I take great pride in that — you want to be recognized for your good play,” said Methot. “I played on a good team (in Ottawa) and it really helped my play.

“But this is a chance to be a national team player. I’m going in there blind. This is all new to me. But I’ve come a long way to get here.”

Top centre Jason Spezza, who two seasons ago finished fourth in league scoring before missing much of last year due to back surgery, was left off the list. Spezza was a reserve player for the 2006 Canadian Olympic team and played in three world junior and two world hockey championships.

Here’s the full orientation camp roster.

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