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

by Shawn P. Roarke

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]."

That day was not Friday, when the team took the ice for an afternoon practice. Canada skated with just 14 forwards.

The team will likely take 13 forwards to Sweden for the tournament, which starts Dec. 26.

Brent Sutter, Canada's coach, said on Thursday he is not concerned by Drouin's absence yet because there is plenty of time before the tournament starts. Drouin, the No. 3 selection in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, is a key part of Canada's plans. The 18-year-old is one of the most offensively gifted players on the team and has the experience of playing in the 2013 World Junior Championship.

Drouin was producing at an astonishing clip before the injury, posting 50 points in 23 QMJHL contests.

With Drouin absent, Canada's coaching staff juggled lines a little bit for what turned out to be a very spirited practice.

Here is how Canada looked during the first of three days of on-ice activity:


Hunter Shinkaruk -- Nicolas Petan -- Curtis Lazar

Charles Hudon -- Bo Horvat -- Anthony Mantha

Taylor Leier -- Scott Laughton -- Felix Girard

Kerby Rychel -- Connor McDavid -- Sam Reinhart

Frederik Gauthier -- Josh Anderson


Griffin Reinhart -- Mathew Dumba

Derrick Pouliot -- Damon Severson

Adam Pelech -- Aaron Ekblad

Joshua Morrissey -- Chris Bigras


Zachary Fucale

Jake Paterson

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