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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Wilson, Laughton ready to finally play for Canada

Friday, 08.09.2013 / 5:35 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / World Junior Evaluation Camp blog

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Tom Wilson and Scott Laughton knew before they arrived here for this phase of the national junior evaluation camp that they only would be playing the final game, Saturday against the United States.

While it hasn't been fun sitting out, they've tried to make the most of it.

"It's been pretty relaxing, but also I've been learning a lot," Wilson, taken by the Washington Capitals with the 16th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, told NHL.com. "I've been watching all I can during the games, learning during practices and trying to take in everything I can."

Laughton, who was selected four picks later by the Philadelphia Flyers, said he couldn't remember the last time he had been forced to watch so much hockey.

"I'm just kind of excited to get in," he told NHL.com. "I haven't been out and watched this many games in a while. To watch the first two games was tough. It's nice to get in here, especially against the States."

Canada coach Brent Sutter said he made sure to let Wilson and Laughton know ahead of time how the rosters for each game would be assembled and that their absence from the first two games had nothing to do with them, and only was because he and the coaching staff wanted to see more of different players.

"I talked to them when they first got here and told them the schedule of what we're doing and how we're handling it," he said. "They were well aware of it and they understood."

At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Wilson is a physical player who enjoys using his size to his advantage. With all the pent-up energy he's going to have, he said he knows he's going to have to be extra careful to not cross the line between strong play and bad penalties.

"Anytime you play the Americans it's going to be a highly-touted game," Wilson said. "I'm ready to go. I have to be careful about being too excited, but positive energy is a good thing and I'll be ready to go."

Laughton said he also knows he'll have to keep his emotions in check.

"I can get myself pretty amped up for games like this," he said. "I just kind of have to keep an even keel and not run around too much and stay positive and work from there."

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery