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Canada Makes Final Cuts For WJC Team

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden were both named to Team Canada

Thirteen players were returned to their junior teams Wednesday as Hockey Canada made its final cuts and set its roster for the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Sent home were goaltenders Louis Domingue of the Quebec Remparts and Tyler Bunz of the Medicine Hat Tigers; defensemen Alex Petrovic of the Red Deer Rebels, Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers, Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67’s, Joseph Morrow of the Portland Winterhawks; and forwards Brad Ross and Ty Rattie of the Winterhawks, Brett Bulmer of the Kelowna Rockets, Tyler Toffoli of the 67’s, Phillip Danault of the Shawinigan Cataractes, Christian Thomas of the Oshawa Generals and Phillip Di Giuseppe of the University of Michigan.

Among those remaining with the team are four players who won the silver medal at last year's WJC in Buffalo -- goalie Mark Visentin and forwards Brett Connolly, Quinton Howden and Jaden Schwartz.

Also still with the team is a pair of players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft -- defenseman Ryan Murray and forward Tanner Pearson.

Canada's 22-man roster will consist of two goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards.

Sixteen NHL teams will have at least one prospect on the team, topped by three members of the Montreal Canadiens -- defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, and forwards Michal Bournival and Brendan Gallagher. The Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers will have two prospects each on the team.

There are 12 players on the roster taken in the first round of the 2010 or 2011 Entry Draft, including five of the top 14 players taken in June in Minnesota -- forwards Jonathan Huberdeau (No. 3, Florida), Ryan Strome (No. 5, N.Y. Islanders) and Mark Scheifele (No. 7, Winnipeg), and defensemen Dougie Hamilton (No. 8, Boston) and Jamie Oleksiak (No. 14, Dallas).

Hamilton and his older brother, Freddie, both made the team. They'll be the first brothers to be teammates on a Canada World Junior Championship team in 30 years.

The players sent home were given the news at 6 a.m.

"I had a little dream of waking up and making the team," said Petrovic, whose Rebels teammate Mathew Dumba, was cut Tuesday. "I got the call and obviously it's a heartbreak. I'll leave it at that."

For the Portland trio of Morrow, Ross and Rattie, the experience was equally as difficult.

"I thought there was a good chance all three of us could make it, but having none of us make it stings," Ross said. "You could ask any one of them, they would just want one of us to make it."

With injury questions surrounding forwards Quinton Howden and Huberdeau, it is possible one of the players cut Wednesday could be called back prior to the tournament starting Dec. 26.

Howden is out with concussion-like symptoms, and Huberdeau is day-to-day with a foot injury.

Di Giuseppe, a top 2012 NHL Draft prospect, could be one of those players called back, but said he's hoping both return to full health.

"Those are both great players," Di Giuseppe said. "I hope they can play the tournament because they're big factors. I hope they can play."

Wednesday's cuts follow Tuesday's release of seven players -- defensemen Dumba, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc of the Rimouski Oceanic and Brenden Kichton of the Spokane Chiefs, and forwards Max Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, the Brandon Wheat Kings' Michael Ferland, Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders and Zack Phillips of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Di Giuseppe said he's already looking forward to trying out for next year's team.

"I have the opportunity to come back next year where some of the guys don't," he said. "I can take what I got out of the experience and bring that back with me next year."


Goalies -- Mark Visentin, Niagara, OHL (Phoenix); Scott Wedgewood, Plymouth, OHL (New Jersey).

Defense -- Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John, QMJHL (Montreal); Brandon Gormley, Moncton, QMJHL (Phoenix); Dougie Hamilton, Niagara, OHL (Boston); Scott Harrington, London, OHL (Pittsburgh); Ryan Murray, Everett, WHL (2012 draft eligible); Jamie Oleksiak, Saginaw, OHL (Dallas); Mark Pysyk, Edmonton, WHL (Buffalo).

Forwards -- Michael Bournival, Shawinigan, QMJHL (Montreal); Brendan Gallagher, Vancouver, WHL (Montreal); Freddie Hamilton, Niagara, OHL (San Jose); Quinton Howden, Moose Jaw, WHL (Florida); Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John, QMJHL (Florida); Boone Jenner, Oshawa, OHL (Columbus); Tanner Pearson, Barrie, OHL (2012 draft eligible); Mark Scheifele, Barrie, OHL (Winnipeg); Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College, WCHA (St. Louis); Mark Stone, Brandon, WHL (Ottawa); Devante Smith-Pelly, Anaheim, NHL; Ryan Strome, Niagara, OHL (New York Islanders); Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL.


Canada will play in Group B at the 2012 World Junior Championship, along with the U.S., Denmark, Finland and the Czech Republic. Its preliminary-round games will be played at Rexall Place in Edmonton, with the medal round shifting to the Scotiabank Saddledome Calgary.

Dec. 26 - Canada vs. Finland
Dec. 28 - Canada vs. Czech Republic
Dec. 29 - Canada vs. Denmark
Dec. 31 - Canada vs. U.S.
Jan. 2 - Quarterfinals
Jan. 3 - Semifinals
Jan. 5 - Bronze/Gold Medal game

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent

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