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Sens prospect makes large strides

Wiercioch doesn't make Team Canada cut but his WJC might come in 2010

Monday, 12.15.2008 / 4:31 PM ET / 2009 World Junior Championship
By Rob Brodie  -
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Sens prospect makes large strides
It wasn't Patrick Wiercioch's time just yet.

But the Ottawa Senators prospect has taken a few large strides toward earning himself a blue-line home with Team Canada's national junior teamin the future.

Wiercioch was among 16 players released earlier today as Hockey Canada finalized its 22-man roster for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa. The tournament runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 at Scotiabank Place and the Ottawa Civic Centre.

"It's definitely not the call you want, but it's something that needs to be done and I wish the team the best of luck," Wiercioch told reporters after getting the news.

Bell Capital Cup grads John Tavares (left) and P.K. Subban are back with Team Canada for another shot at gold at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa.
While the 18-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., wasn't among the eight defenceman selected for the team, Hockey Canada's staff liked what it saw over the weekend from a player who hadn't previously been involved with any of their national team programs.

"For his first time involved in the program ... you're never sure what to expect when you come into that," Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray said as Team Canada assembled at the Bell Sensplex for media photos and interviews. "He looked a bit tentative, then seemed to get a little bit more comfortable as the week went along."

With a little more physical strength, Murray believes Wiercioch could be a part of the team Hockey Canada sends to the 2010 WJC in Regina and Saskatoon.

"He needs to gain more strength so he can handle the physical battles," Murray said of Wiercioch, the Senators' second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place. "When you're playing against the best players your age in the world, you've got (have) a lot of physical strength on some of those guys.

"As the week went on, he got more comfortable in the offensive situations, better in his positioning, used his stick well and I thought he handled himself very well. We're anxious to see him here again, and if he's not in the National Hockey League, I think he's got a real good chance to be a part of our program."

Based on those comments, it would seem Wiercioch achieved one of his primary goals when he earned an invite to the Team Canada selection camp.

"I want to come and do my best and leave as a better player than when I came in," he said on the first day of camp. "It's truly an honour to be on the ice with some of the best Canadians out there."

The final roster includes four returnees from the team that brought Canada a fourth straight world junior gold last January in the Czech Republic: Defencemen Thomas Hickey of Calgary and P.K. Subban of Toronto, and forwards John Tavares of Oakville, Ont., and Zach Boychuk of Airdrie, Alta.

Tavares and Subban give Team Canada a local connection of sorts. Both are "graduates" of the Bell Capital Cup, the world's largest minor hockey tournament, which will be played at the Bell Sensplex at the same time the world juniors are held down the road at Scotiabank Place.

Check out Team Canada's roster for the 2009 WJC here.




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02