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Bittersweet day for Canadian junior hockey team

TSN.ca Staff

12/16/2009 4:27:17 PM

With the news coming early Wednesday morning, the final nine players released from the Canadian junior national roster came out to face the media one by one. The disappointment was still biting, as for many of them it was their first taste of bitter rejection.

''Being cut is being cut, it doesn't matter what position you are,'' said Swift Current Broncos forward Cody Eakin. ''It's definitely not something you want to be on the side of, not making the team.''

Dylan Olsen from the University of Minnesota-Duluth took the news in stride.

''Things happen,'' he said. ''I guess this year wasn't my year, so I'm going to come back next year and make the team.''

Belleville Bulls defenceman Shawn Lalonde added, ''I thought (camp) went well. I thought I left it all on the line and nothing. I don't have any regrets; I feel I did fine.''

Shortly after the news was passed to the players released, it was time for Hockey Canada staff to deliver the good news of the day, knocking on the hotel room doors of the respective players.

''Last year I got the phone call and this year I got the knock on the door,'' said centre Brayden Schenn. ''It was a good feeling.'' Schenn, a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, was released from last December's camp in Ottawa.

Struggling to generate offence and plagued by frequent turnovers, Nazem Kadri was arguably behind the eight-ball in his bid to crack Team Canada's squad. A slow start to his production at camp had doubt rattling around in his mind.

''I didn't get too much sleep (last night),'' said the Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick. ''There was a lot of anxiety there, but I'm happy to finally get the nod.''

Defenceman Calvin de Haan was in a dogfight to earn one of the seven spots on the blueline and like the others, news that he'd made it left his head spinning.

''I was very nervous; it took me a long time to fall asleep,'' he said. ''I guess they liked what they saw and they chose me for a reason.''

A few hours after the news was spread, the Canadian squad assembled for the first time as a team and began taking stock of what they had.

''I think its best described as character,'' head coach Willie Desjardins said of the team assembled. ''There are a lot of leaders on this team, guys that are the captain of their own club team.

''We have a lot of versatility with guys who can play different roles, guys who can go on different lines. I think those are probably the keys for us; guys that will handle pressure well.''

- Written with files from TSN's Ryan Rishaug