Hockey Canada

Team Canada hopefuls on the bubble survive nervous night

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TSN.ca Staff
12/14/2010 8:39:32 PM
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While nine players received an unwelcome wake up call Monday morning, there were 31 other Team Canada hopefuls who were waiting on pins and needles wondering if their phone was about to ring to inform them that they would not be part of the final roster Canada would be sending to the World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo.

"Six o'clock I was up and didn't go back to sleep until about seven," admitted Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray, the youngest player invited to camp.

Head coach Dave Cameron and his staff will get their final look at the remaining players Tuesday night as Team Canada faces a team of CIS All-Stars, with decisions to be made following the game.

"It's a case where tonight is the final evaluation," said Cameron. "Some guys we're comfortable with, we've seen them enough and know where they stand.  We'll play tonight's game then come together and release our lineup tomorrow."

Several players who have roster spots already locked up will likely be rested for the game. While Cameron would not announce his lineup, it's expected that the four players returning from last year's team - Ryan Ellis, Jared Cowen, Calvin De Haan and Brayden Schenn - will be given the night off. 

All four goaltenders remaining in camp will be given a shot to earn their spot as two will tend net for Canada on Tuesday night, while the other two will skate with the CIS team.

For the players on the bubble, Tuesday's game represents their best and final chance of earning a slot in the final lineup.

"There's so many good players here that I think anyone can lose a job within a day like this," said Saskatoon Blades forward and Edmonton Oilers draft pick Curtis Hamilton. "Hopefully I get a chance to play tonight and go out there and work my tail off."

For a player like Sudbury Wolves forward and Buffalo Sabres draft pick Marcus Foligno - identified by Cameron as one of the surprises at camp - Tuesday's game can help him cement a spot on the roster, something that might not have been written in stone when the week began.

"I think it's all in my hands right now and it just depends on what I do," said Foligno. "I think that if I have another good outing it's going to help me get closer to making the Team Canada roster and that's what I've wanted so badly here. I think I have a pretty good chance."

With several key decisions to be made, Cameron said he was pleased at how all the players have dealt with the pressure of trying to make the team.

"These guys all came in and handled themselves quite well and made our jobs tough," he said. "Which is one of the criteria that we asked them to do."

Now it's time for the coaching staff to make their toughest decisions and another sleepless night for the nation's top junior players.



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