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Status of NHL players for Canadian junior team unclear for all except Brule

1115 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  panoo
Canadian Press
Nov 29, 2006, 4:34 PM EST

(CP) - There is a small chance that there will be an NHL player on this year's Canadian junior team.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gilbert Brule will not be that player, however.

Brule declined an invitation to the Canadian team's summer camp. Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean said at the time Brule was instead focusing on his upcoming NHL season.

Hockey Canada's policy is that if you don't attend summer camp, you're not eligible to play in the world junior hockey championship.

"I think that's fair to the kids who do really want to be there, who do prepare themselves to be there and make the commitment to show up," Hockey Canada's head scout Jim Hammett said. "I'm in 100 per cent agreement on it."

While Hockey Canada has inquired about the availability of Montreal Canadiens forward Guillaume Latendresse, Pittsburgh Penguins centre Jordan Staal and San Jose Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Blue Jackets were not asked for 19-year-old Brule.

The policy has been in place since 2001, when Stephen Weiss did not attend the summer camp citing injury and burnout as his reasons, yet pled his case to be considered for the Canadian team.

Weiss did play for Canada in the 2002 world junior championship, but Hockey Canada at that point made attendance at summer camp mandatory, even if the invited player was injured.

The Canadian team's selection camp roster will be announced Monday and will include four goaltenders, 12 defencemen and a yet-to-be determined number of forwards.

The camp starts Dec. 10 in Calgary and the 22-player roster for the 2007 world junior hockey championship will be named five days later.

Two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards will be chosen to represent Canada, which opens defence of the gold medal Dec. 26 in Leksand, Sweden, against the host country.

Hammett hasn't received definitive answers about 19-year-olds Latendresse and Vlasic or 18-year-old Staal from their respective NHL clubs.

"They haven't ruled anything out, but they haven't committed to anything," Hammett said. "It's still a little bit early as far as that goes.

"We'd love to have them, but we're preparing as though we're not going to get them."

Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau isn't willing to part with Latendresse, particularly because forward Chris Higgins is injured and not expected back until late December.

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