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Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Drouin feels close to return from concussion

TORONTO -- Jonathan Drouin said Sunday that he is getting closer to taking the ice with the Canadian junior national team.

Unfortunately, that won't happen before the Canadians depart for Europe later today. He does, however, plan to skate during the team's run-up to the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden. Canada has a week-long European training camp and also plays three exhibition games.

Drouin has been sidelined for nine days with a concussion, but he has ridden a stationary bicycle for each of the past two days and has not reported any symptoms related to a concussion. Drouin said he has experienced no post-concussion symptoms for the past three days.

"Riding the bike is not the funnest thing, but it is part of the protocol," Drouin said Sunday, the first time he has spoken to reporters since he arrived for the three-day camp on Thursday evening. At that time, he said he was still experiencing light headaches, but was hopeful that they were the result of the flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia. "But, I'm getting used to it and hope to get on the ice soon."

Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 5:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada junior team wins exhibition, 3-0

TORONTO – Canada's hopefuls for the national team that will play in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship were workmanlike in a 3-0 victory against a collection of local college hockey stars in an exhibition Saturday afternoon at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.

Workmanlike was enough for the team's coach Brent Sutter.

"I was pleased with a lot of things," he said.

Connor McDavid scored on a second-period power play to open the scoring. Josh Anderson added a goal in the first 15 seconds of the third period and Charles Hudon finished a strong game with an empty-netter in the final minute.

The two goalies, Zachary Fucale and Jake Paterson, were not severely tested, but handled everything that came their way.

"When you think about it, we've had one practice for an hour long and getting everybody together and quickly go through some things," Sutter said, referencing the late-afternoon session here on Friday. "Some things we weren't able to get done through practice time, but we were able to do it through a meeting and some stuff on the board."

Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 5:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada's Drouin rides bike, making progress

TORONTO – Forward Jonathan Drouin did not play Saturday in Canada's 3-0 victory against a select team of area college players, but coach Brent Sutter said the Halifax Mooseheads star is making process from a concussion sustained eight days ago.

"Everything went good today," Sutter said after the game. "He rode the bike today and had no symptoms. That's a really good thing. [Sunday] we'll get him to go a little bit harder. Then, we'll get him back on the ice overseas if that goes well."

Canada leaves for Europe after a morning practice at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence here Sunday.

Drouin, who has 50 points this season in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play, was injured this past Friday after a hit from Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts. He is expected to be the top offensive threat for Canada in the tournament, which begins Dec. 26.

Bo Horvat, Josh Morrissey, Nic Petan and Griffin Reinhart also did not dress. All except for Morrissey were healthy scratches. Morrissey, a defenseman with Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League, is dealing with general soreness, the coach said.

"Morrissey is still a little banged up, came into here a little banged up and we didn't want to chance that," Sutter said. "He's a little sore, so we figured keep him off the ice for a few days and get him back on the ice when we get over to Europe."

Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 3:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada sets lineup against CIS Selects

TORONTO – Canada Under-20 national team coach Brent Sutter used an exhibition Saturday against the CIS Toronto Selects to try to figure out what his roster and lines will look like when the team leaves Sunday evening for Malmo, Sweden, site of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Sutter scratched Jonathan Drouin, Bo Horvat, John Morrissey, Nic Petan and Griffin Reinhart for the game. Drouin was unavailable as he is still dealing with a concussion suffered eight days ago.

Connor McDavid, the 16-year-old prodigy, was given a high profile, playing center on a line with Hunter Shinkaruk and Sam Reinhart. Meanwhile, Aaron Ekblad, the 17-year-old defender, played with Adam Pelech.

Here is how Canada looked at the start of the game:

Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 4:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada's Drouin doesn't practice, but feels he's close

TORONTO -- Left wing Jonathan Drouin did not practice with the other hopefuls for the Canadian national Under-20 team on Friday at the Mastercard Center for Hockey Excellence.

The star with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is sidelined with a concussion suffered a week ago in a league game against the Quebec Remparts.

Upon his arrival on Thursday for Hockey Canada's three-day World Junior Championship Selection Camp, Drouin said he was close to being able to skate

"It's getting better," Drouin told reporters on Thursday, after arriving at Pearson International Airport. "I'm not at the point of skating right away. We're taking it day-by-day. When I see the medical staff from Team Canada … when they [give] me the OK, I am going to go on [and play]."

Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 4:05 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Wendel Clark altered role to chase World Junior glory

TORONTO -- One of the dominant messages when it comes to the World Junior Championship is that elite players will have to adjust roles.

For Canadian kids, that is especially true as the country's developmental system produces wave after wave of players capable of playing on the international stage at the Under-20 level. Virtually everyone who shows up at Canada camp is a star on his club team, but that will not be the case for those players when the final roster is picked for the tournament in Sweden, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Some players will have to check egos and play lesser rolls with passion if Canada hopes to find gold.

If the players on hand at Hockey Canada's 2014 Selection Camp at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence need extra motivation to alter their game, or their expectations, they need to look no further than Wendel Clark, one of the game's most legendary players.

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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