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Canada roster seeking better result at WJC

Friday, 14.12.2012 / 9:50 AM / Feature
By Mike Morreale  - Staff Writer
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Canada roster seeking better result at WJC
The 23 players named to the Canadian National Junior Team will have their sights set on gold -- not bronze -- when 2013 World Junior Championship commences later this month in Ufa, Russia.\r\n

The six returning players for the Canadian National Junior Team have some unfinished business this time around when the 2013 World Junior Championship commences later this month in Ufa, Russia.

It isn't often Hockey Canada has the luxury of fortifying its junior lineup with NHL-caliber talent, but that's precisely the situation coach Steve Spott finds himself following three days of evaluation at Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary this week.

And that's a good thing, considering what's at stake for the 23 players named to the Canadian roster Thursday evening.

This year's team has six returning players from last year's bronze medalists, including defensemen Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins) and Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins), as well as forwards Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Ryan Strome (New York Islanders), Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers).


Goalies: Jordan Binnington, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit, OHL (Detroit Red Wings); Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls, OHL (Boston Bruins)

Defensemen: Dougie Hamilton, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (Boston Bruins); Scott Harrington, London Knights, OHL (Pittsburgh Penguins); Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Xavier Ouellet, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings); Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL (New York Islanders); Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL (Toronto Maple Leafs); Tyler Wotherspoon, Portland Winterhawks, WHL (Calgary Flames)

Forwards: Anthony Camara, Barrie Colts, OHL (Boston Bruins); Phillip Danault, Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL (2013 draft eligible); Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL (Florida Panthers); Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi Sagueneens, QMJHL (Montreal Canadiens); Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); J.C. Lipon, Kamloops Blazers, WHL (2013 draft eligible); Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL (2013 draft eligible); Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oklahoma City Barons, AHL (Edmonton Oilers); Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks, WHL (St. Louis Blues); Brett Ritchie, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (Dallas Stars); Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts, OHL (Winnipeg Jets); Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (New York Islanders)

"It's always nice to win your last game like we did [for the bronze medal], but it would have been nice to be in that gold-medal game," Harrington said Monday. "I know all Canadians -- especially the six of us that were on the team last year -- want us to get to Russia and, hopefully, give them the same fate."

Canada suffered a 6-5 semifinal loss to Russia in the medal round last year. Russia would then drop a 1-0 overtime decision to Sweden in the gold-medal game, while Canada scored a 4-0 triumph against Finland for the bronze.

Not only hasn't Canada won a gold medal at the WJC since 2009, but last year's bronze-medal finish in Calgary marked the first time in 11 years that the country wasn't playing for the most coveted color at the event.

Scheifele, who likely will be inserted on the top line with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers) and left wing Huberdeau, is looking forward to getting back on the ice to represent his country.

"It wasn't what we wanted [last year]," Scheifele said. "It was very disappointing. Having that happen to you, I definitely think it makes you stronger. You don't want to go through that feeling again. You want to get the gold that much more."

The team's second offensive line might consist of Charles Hudon (Montreal Canadiens) of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Niagara IceDogs teammates Strome and Brett Ritchie (Dallas Stars). Strome leads the Ontario Hockey League with 62 points (22 goals, 40 assists) in 32 games this season.

Huberdeau and Strome were tied for second in scoring for Canada in six games at the 2012 WJC with nine points apiece. Huberdeau had a team-leading eight assists and Strome notched three goals.

With key returnees, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft (Nugent-Hopkins), and three exceptional 2013 draft-eligible prospects (Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and J.C. Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL), Canada will have quite a blend of leadership and exuberance throughout its lineup.

In December 2010, Nugent-Hopkins, then 17, was cut from Canada's team on the last day of camp. In December 2011, he was already a key member of the Oilers while averaging a point per game, so he was not released by the organization.

MacKinnon, the No. 1-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of players from the QMJHL, will be the captain for Team Cherry at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Jan. 16. Drouin, who is MacKinnon's linemate in Halifax, will be an alternate captain for Team Cherry.

The duo has combined for 41 goals and 100 points with the Mooseheads this season.

Fans can expect the top defensive pair to be Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs) of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Hamilton, who finished with two goals, six points and a plus-7 rating in six tournament games last year.

Defenseman Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes) of the Kitchener Rangers will finally get an opportunity to represent his country at the WJC after being cut on the final day of camp the previous two years.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale

Author: Mike G. Morreale | Staff Writer




1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46


B. Little 63 24 26 9 50
A. Ladd 63 20 30 12 50
B. Wheeler 61 16 28 12 44
D. Byfuglien 63 15 26 6 41
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 63 10 25 4 35
M. Frolik 63 13 19 3 32
D. Stafford 57 10 17 -18 27
J. Tlusty 53 13 10 -17 23
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
M. Hutchinson 18 7 5 .920 2.29
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.60
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