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Canada's Devante Smith-Pelly fractures foot

by Mike G. Morreale
A big opening-night win on Boxing Day before 16,647 screaming fans in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship proved a tad costly to the Canadian National Junior Team on Monday at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The Canadians' 8-1 win over Finland was tempered when it was learned after the game that defensive-forward Devante Smith-Pelly would be lost for the remainder of the tournament with a fractured left foot. Smith-Pelly suffered his injury when he slid to the ice to block a shot from the right point by Teemu Pulkkinen.

In 26 games with the Anaheim Ducks in his rookie NHL campaign this year, Smith-Pelly had 3 goals, 5 points and 10 penalty minutes. The Ducks announced that Smith-Pelly would be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks.

Adding insult to injury is the fact Team Canada cannot replace him on its roster. The only situation that would allow a team to add another player would be in the case of a goaltender injury.

Canada has Tuesday off before facing the Czech Republic Wednesday, Denmark on Thursday and the U.S. to conclude Pool B play on Saturday.

Sweden notched a 9-4 triumph over Latvia at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary but captain Johan Larsson exited the contest in the first period with a contusion on his thigh.

"He had a hit on his thigh in the first period," said Sweden's team doctor Bjorn Sandstrom. "That's why he didn't play anymore. I don't think it's a dangerous injury. I'm not very worried about him."

The team is already playing without 2012 draft eligible forward Pontus Aberg, who was knocked out of the World Junior Championship before the tournament got underway.

The U.S. saw forward Connor Brickley leave in the opening period of its 11-3 victory over Denmark on Monday in Edmonton. Brickley received a cut on his leg by the skate blade of Denmark's Nicolai Meyer. It appears as though Brickley's injury wasn't too serious and he should be good to go when the U.S. resumes play on Wednesday against Finland.

Finland, meanwhile, may have lost budding 2012 draft prospect Olli Maatta along the blueline. Maatta was the recipient of a tremendous hit delivered by Canada's Boone Jenner in the opening period. Finland coach Raimo Helminen said after the game that the 17-year-old Maatta, who stars for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, may have suffered a concussion.
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