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Tough call for Team Canada coaches

Selecting final roster for 2009 Ottawa WJC no easy call for Groulx and Co.

Monday, 28.07.2008 / 6:29 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Tough call for Team Canada coaches
The drive for five is still in its warmup phase.

But already, the 44 players at Team Canada's summer development camp are very much aware of what will be expected of the group chosen to wear the red maple leaf at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa.

"For everybody, being in Canada, there's a lot of pressure to win gold," forward John Tavares, who helped Canada win a fourth straight junior gold last January in the Czech Republic, said Monday at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex, where the summer camp is being held. "And every year, rightfully so, we don't expect anything less than gold.

"Being at home, the expectations are even higher because we've got the home-ice advantage and the home crowd support."

Tavares is among 10 returning players from the last year's golden bunch, though three of them (Steven Stamkos, Zach Boychuk and Thomas Hickey) aren't on the ice in Ottawa this week.  But beyond them, there's a wealth of talent on display for Groulx and his two assistants, Dave Cameron and Willie Desjardins.

Picking a final roster won't be an easy chore, without a doubt.

"The difference between them is very small," said Groulx, also the head coach of the Gatineau Olympiques. "This is only a starting point, being invited and having this camp. They're going to have to prove themselves (again) at Christmas, when there is another camp (the final selection camp before the Dec. 26-Jan. 5 tournament at Scotiabank Place and the Ottawa Civic Centre).

"It's a starting point here but at the same time, this camp is giving us a good idea (about) how do they compete. It's something that's very important. We like guys who compete hard and we want guys who are able to skate."

Even a big talent like Tavares, widely touted as perhaps the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, knows his past successes at the WJC don't guarantee anything when the final roster decisions are made in December.

"There's so much talent in Canada," said Tavares, a two-time 100-point man with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals. "There's a lot of guys not even here that could surprise and maybe be here at the Christmas camp. We've got a lot of good guys and it's going to be tough for the coaches to select the team."

The summer camp wraps up with a third Red vs. White game on Tuesday night at the University of Ottawa complex. Tickets are $10 for that 6 p.m. contest, which will be a rubber match of sorts.

Monday night, the White edged the Red 4-3, with Ottawa Senators prospect Louie Caporusso scoring once for the victorious side. The Red prevailed 4-1 on Sunday evening.

For more information on the 2009 WJC. log on to




1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
3 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
4 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
5 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
6 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
7 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
8 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31


B. Ryan 43 12 21 7 33
E. Karlsson 46 11 22 -5 33
K. Turris 46 9 20 -8 29
M. Stone 44 11 15 9 26
M. Hoffman 43 16 9 19 25
C. MacArthur 45 13 11 -7 24
M. Zibanejad 44 11 12 1 23
D. Legwand 45 7 12 -4 19
A. Chiasson 43 7 10 -8 17
M. Michalek 42 6 9 -7 15
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 6 7 2 .900 3.16