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McKenzie: World juniors roster cuts played out as expected

Bob McKenzie
12/16/2009 1:27:31 PM
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Wednesday's world juniors roster cuts played out as expected.

Some people may have thought Plymouth Whalers' Matt Hackett could have been the backup goaltender behind Jake Allen of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but Calgary Hitmen's Martin Jones obviously jumped up there.

There was a fierce battle for the final defence spot, and Calvin de Haan of the Oshawa Generals won out over Dylan Olsen, Tyler Cuma and Shawn Lalonde. There were no huge surprises on the blueline; nothing that would leave you scratching your head and saying 'how the heck did that happen?'

Jordan Caron is not the 13th forward in the traditional sense. There are many interchangeable parts on this team. Brandon McMillan and Gabriel Bourque could easily swap spots and Caron could just as easily end up alongside Stefan Della Rovere and Cormier on the shutdown line.

In terms of storylines, the Windsor Spitfires' line will create a lot of interest: Taylor Hall, potentially the number one overall pick at next June's entry draft, Adam Henrique and Greg Nemisz. I don't ever recall an entire junior hockey line playing for Team Canada at the world juniors.

The trademark of this Canadian team will be much like its head coach Willie Desjardins. It's a very hard working team that has a very strong defensive responsibility; very much a two-way team. A lot of the players on this team are guys that are good at both ends of the ice, including Adam Henrique, Brayden Schenn, Gabriel Bourque and the list goes on.  

Any Team Canada on home ice is a threat to win the gold medal, but they are not the prohibitive favorites. Team Sweden is very good, although historically the Swedes have had real good teams on paper and haven't always delivered with the gold medal.

My understanding is that they will take the team picture Wednesday morning without C or A's and formalize captain and alternates by Thursday. The expectation is the letters will go to some of Cormier, Jordan Eberle, Alex Pietrangelo, Colten Teubert and Ryan Ellis (the returnees).

Bob McKenzie


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