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Canada roster seeking better result at WJC

Friday, 12.14.2012 / 8:50 AM CT / 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 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54


A. Ladd 75 24 35 11 59
B. Wheeler 73 24 34 24 58
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
M. Scheifele 75 14 32 10 46
D. Byfuglien 66 16 27 7 43
M. Frolik 75 17 23 4 40
D. Stafford 69 16 24 -14 40
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
J. Tlusty 65 14 15 -18 29
T. Myers 65 7 18 -9 25
O. Pavelec 19 14 7 .919 2.35
M. Hutchinson 20 10 5 .913 2.43
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