With the first 5 cuts over with there was little time to relax for those players still fighting for a spot on Team Canada. Most of the players who are assured a spot on the squad sat out the first game against the OUA All-Stars on Thursday night. Sitting this one out were: Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Hamhuis, Jay Harrison, Mark Popovic, Jason Spezza, Mike Cammalleri, Steve Ott, Jarrett Stoll, Brad Boyes and Brian Sutherby. We can assume these players will be around for the team picture on Saturday.
It was not an awe-inspiring game for the juniors who lost 4-3 to the more senior team made up mainly of ex-OHL’rs.
All four goalies were solid but I think it is safe to say that Shane Bendera and Pascal Leclaire will be the ones left standing come Saturday. Olivier Michaud played well but he tends to give up more rebounds than the others, while Ray Emery is solid but in my opinion just isn’t at the skill level of the other two.
Rick Nash was one of Canada’s best players showing a large improvement over Wednesday night. He showed great puck control and scored and end-to-end goal that had the crowd ooying and ahhing. If he continues to play as he did, he will definitely make the roster.
Duncan Keith just won’t go away. I thought there was no way this guy was going to compete with the top d-men in the country but he has been an offensive and defensive force so far. He is a good skater and passer and he works very hard. I believe he may have played himself onto the team. The only mark against him is his size. (5’11”, 160lbs)
Scottie Upshall is going to be something to watch as a member of Team Canada. I had only heard people from the west rave about this kid but I had never seen him play. I now see what they were talking about. He has all the skills and heart to be a standout at the tournament.
Carlo Colaiacovo looks as though he could secure one of the final d-man spots. He is a good passer and is very versatile.
Disappointing so far have been: Chuck Kobasew, Colby Armstrong and Jared Aulin. I expect Aulin will be cut tomorrow along with P.M. Bouchard, Nathan Smith, Jean-Francois David and Steve Eminger. I’m sticking with Smith and Eminger because I picked them yesterday but it could be Armstrong and Paetsch. Especially if they decide they need Eminger’s right-handed shot.
I can’t make it to tomorrow’s game so I will give my final roster now: