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Notes from WJHC Camp: Hay facing many tough decisions

Mark Masters

12/14/2011 12:14:25 AM

All that's left is the waiting.

Team Canada's national junior team wrapped up the on-ice portion of its selection camp on Tuesday night with a scrimmage against a group of university players. Canada won 7-4 and now head coach Don Hay and his staff must decide, which 13 players must be released in order to trim the roster to 22.

Here is what Hay had to say during his scrum with reporters following Tuesday's game in Calgary.

Q: Are things more clear or more cloudy?
Hay: Well, there's lots of discussion to take place tonight. I think that guys played hard. You wish it would have been a little better competition, but I thought our guys did some good things out there.

Q: What did you think of goalie Scott Wedgewood's performance?
Hay: I thought he looked very calm and confident in net and I thought he really did a good job.

Q: What did you think of Philip Danault's performance?
Hay: He played well. He got those two quick goals there and that was a key part of the second period. I thought he played well last night also.

Q: Who else stood out?
Hay: I thought Boone Jenner played a good game and I thought a couple other guys really stepped up and played well.

Q: Brett Connolly continued to play a physical style of game. Were you happy with how he looked?
Hay: I was happy with that line. I thought that line played very well so, you know, [Brett] Bulmer played well, [Michael] Bournival played well, Connolly played well so they did some real good forechecking and gave us a lot of energy.

Q: Happy that you're team was able to battle back after getting down early?
Hay: We didn't get pushed that hard really. I would have liked to have seen us get pushed a little bit harder. You'd like to see a little bit more adversity during the game, but I thought we got down early and pushed back and get the lead and play with that lead.

Q: Long night ahead for you?
Hay: Yeah, there will be some interesting discussions going on.

Team Canada Lines vs. CIS All-Stars

Forwards

Phil Di Giuseppe - Ryan Strome - Christian Thomas
Tanner Pearson - Boone Jenner - Tyler Toffoli
Brad Ross - Philip Danault - Ty Rattie
Brett Bulmer - Michael Bournival - Brett Connolly

Defence

Nathan Beaulieu - Cody Ceci
Joe Morrow - Ryan Murphy
Jamie Oleksiak - Alex Petrovic
Scott Harrington - Mark Pysyk

Goalies Tyler Bunz and Mark Visentin played for Team Canada while Scott Wedgewood and Louis Domingue played for the university team.

The following players were healthy scratches, which means they have almost certainly made the team: Brandon Gormley, Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Murray, Brendan Gallagher, Freddie Hamilton, Mark Scheifele, Devante Smith-Pelly and Mark Stone.

Jonathan Huberdeau (foot) and Quinton Howden (concussion-like symptoms) did not play.

NO OFFENCE? NO PROBLEM

Team Canada head coach Don Hay is not worried about the lack of scoring at the national junior team's selection camp. Only six pucks have gotten by the goalies during the two intra-squad games.

"Offence comes from teamwork," said Hay, who tried out different line combinations in the games. "They're not a team yet. There is individual skills out there, but you really create offence by playing together and working together and having combinations. Also, the goalies have been the best players on the ice in the games.

"I think the offence will come as we move ahead."

One player who has been strangely silent is centre Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs. The fifth overall pick in last year's NHL draft was considered a shoo-in to make the team when the camp opened, but now TSN analyst Bob McKenzie says Strome must play well Tuesday night to assure himself a spot on the final roster.

VIDEO: McKenzie talks about Strome's struggles http://bit.ly/rBHAX0

BEST OFFENCE IS A GOOD DEFENCE

Ryan Murphy has not registered a point in the two games, but that is not what worries the Kitchener Rangers defenceman, who scored 26 goals and racked up 79 points in 63 OHL games last season.

"I want to take as much risk out of my game as I can," Murphy said. "I know the coaches know what I can do offensively, it's my defensive part of my game that still has the question mark beside it so I'm just trying to play a strong defensive game.

"It's a 200-foot game and that's something the coaches have tried to get across to everyone at camp and we understand that and we have to be responsible at both ends of the ice to play in a tournament like this."

While defencemen Dougie Hamilton, Brandon Gormley and Ryan Murray appear to have spots locked up, Murphy knows he still needs to perform well in Tuesday night's final scrimmage to ensure himself  a place on the squad.

"It is the last chance and I do want to be an impact player out there, but once again I do want to be as solid as I can be defensively."

DUMBA'S DISCONTENT

Head coach Don Hay was asked about why he let defenceman Mathew Dumba go as part of his seven cuts Tuesday morning. The 17-year-old did not look out of place during the camp despite being the youngest player on the ice.

"I thought Matt did very well," said Hay. "They're all good players. Matt Dumba's an elite player. He was captain of the under-18 team and we knew he would do well, but is he ready for this tournament at this time? We don't think so."

Forward Jaden Schwartz, one of four returning players at the camp, was Dumba's roommate and tried to console the Red Deer Rebel after he got the news.

"The phone rang and they asked for Matt and I just tried to wish him the best and he's a young kid and I thought he played really well. I thought he played a very good camp. I remember talking last night and he said that was one of the best hockey games he's ever played," Schwartz said.

NO SILVER LINING

The fact Mathew Dumba still has another chance to make Canada's world junior hockey team did not make getting cut any easier.

"I really wanted to make this team and it was hard for me to wake up this morning and pack my stuff up. It's emotional, but I'm going to get through and just the experience was great," said Dumba, a defenceman with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, his voice cracking.

"I felt I was ready. I felt I was ready to maybe play as that seventh defenceman and kind of be a guy, a spark or something like that. I felt I played really well at camp."

Head coach Don Hay and his staff released seven players Tuesday morning. The other cuts were: Rimouski blueliner Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, defenceman Brenden Kichton of the Spokane Chiefs, forward Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders, Brandon forward Michael Ferland, Saint John Sea Dogs forward Zack Phillips and Kootenay forward Max Reinhart.

GOOD ADVICE

Each player received an early wake-up call letting them know the bad news before meeting briefly with reporters and exiting through a side door of the team hotel and jumping into a waiting car.

"I had trouble sleeping for sure," said the 17-year-old Dumba, who was the youngest player at the selection camp. "I was up every hour and it was just one of those things where it's on your mind constantly and it's tough to go through."

An emotional Dumba was calmed down by his roommate Jaden Schwartz moments after receiving the call. Schwartz, who was on the Canadian team last year and is considered a safe bet to once again make the squad this year, pointed out that both Tyler Seguin and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were also cut by the junior team.

"Schwartzy this morning, he woke up and I was really upset and he was pretty upset too and he said to me, 'They cut Seguin one year and they cut Nuge the other and [they became the] first and second overall [draft picks].' He said, 'Use that as motivation,' and it's certainly uphill from here."

And after leaving the hotel Dumba was actually able to make a small joke about his release, posting the following message on his Twitter account:

"You can find me somewhere in a ditch between Calgary and Red Deer... Suiy watch #imnotactuallyseriousrelax"

Kichton, a New York Islanders prospect, responded via his account:

"I'll be right there with you bud..... #atleastyouhavenextyear"

Dumba was one of five draft-eligible players at the camp. The other four – Everett defenceman Ryan Murray, University of Michigan forward Phil Di Giuseppe, Ottawa defenceman Cody Ceci and Barrie forward Tanner Pearson – all survived the cuts.

NO REGRETS

Not everybody was as emotional as Dumba.

"A little disappointed," said Reinhart, "but it's not the end of the world. It's a tough team to make and I wasn't the player they were looking for.

"I think I played pretty well. I don't think there's much I could've done differently."

McNeill, who like Dumba will get another chance next year, echoed that sentiment.

"I got the call about 10 minutes ago, obviously disappointing, but at the same time I left it all out there on the line so there's no regrets," McNeill said.

Meanwhile, Ferland was lamenting a poor performance in Monday's intra-squad game, which may have led to his release.

"I felt I had a good game the first game," said Ferland. "I don't think I had that good of game last night, but it's a short camp and you got to be ready to go from the start."

WHAT'S NEXT

There are 35 players left (four goalies, 11 defencemen and 20 forwards) at the selection camp. The final 22-man roster will be announced Wednesday morning.

Canada plays a group of Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars Tuesday at 7 pm MT. That will represent the last chance for players to make their case to the coaches.