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Getzlaf's place on Team Canada in serious doubt

by Shawn P. Roarke
VANCOUVER -- Things don't look good for Ryan Getzlaf making Team Canada for these Olympics.
The Anaheim forward skated lightly Saturday morning, testing the high-ankle sprain he suffered last week. It was the third straight day he was on skates. But he will not play against Calgary Saturday night and time is running out for him to prove to Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman that he will be healthy enough to participate in the Olympics.
"We do not believe he is playing tonight … he will skate again tomorrow and from our point of view, we will not make a decision today," Yzerman said in his Saturday press availability. "In all likelihood, we will wait until we see how he does tomorrow. I will speak to Ryan today.
"We are taking this day by day. We decided after the injury that we would give him as much time as he needed to determine whether he is ready to go or not."
Canada's first game is Tuesday, which means time is of the essence.
Yzerman does not have to submit his final roster to the IIHF until Monday at noon and he plans to take as much time as possible to evaluate Getzlaf's condition. The Ducks play Edmonton on Sunday, their final game before the Olympics, and Yzerman stated in a Saturday afternoon press conference at the Main Media Center here that Team Canada management would like to see Getzlaf play in that game to prove his health
"Ideally we'd like to see him playing," Yzerman said. "We don't want to put any pressure on him to come back before he's ready. Right now it’s in the hands of the medical staff of the Ducks. When they clear him to play, and if that's tomorrow, we'll be watching closely to see how he does."
Four years ago, the Canadians finished a disappointing seventh in the Turin Games, just four years after winning gold in Salt Lake City. In the aftermath, Team Canada laid blame on the fact that several key players on the 2006 team were playing injured in the Olympic tournament.

"Our players are very used to playing injured in the Stanley Cup Playoffs," Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe said. "Because the replacement for that player is not a worthy replacement. In the Olympics, you have players that can come in and replace a guy and add more to the team. It certainly was a discussion that we had over this last year on what would happen. We asked that all the players take that into consideration."

Lowe assisted Team Canada four years ago when the Canadians were decimated by injury. This time around, he is assisting Yzerman.

"There were some players last time that showed up that were injured," he said. "It's nobody's fault because you're an athlete and it's tough for anyone to say you can't play. So we asked that the players recognize that and that unless they were close to 100 percent that they let us know so we can replace them with a player that is 100 percent."
Yzerman has vowed repeatedly that he does not want to repeat that mistake and he did so again Saturday afternoon.
He also expressed concern that Getzlaf would be highly susceptible to a recurrence of the high-ankle sprain if he rushed back from the injury.
"It's a tricky one," he said. "There's a lot of uncertainty. That's what makes it a risk for a guy to play early after that type of an injury. The history of this type of injury … there's a good possibility of a recurrence. These are all things we're weighing. As our coaches come in tomorrow, we'll sit down and make the right decision for Ryan, the right decision for the Ducks and the right decision for the Canadian Olympic team.”

If Getzlaf, 24, can't convince team management that he is capable of playing meaningful minutes, he will be replaced. The most likely replacement candidate is Philadelphia's Jeff Carter.

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