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Jan 8, 2013 7:55pm
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It is always tough for players entering their draft year to crack the Canadian
world junior championship roster. Golden Tate Pink Jersey . During a NHL work
stoppage, its almost impossible. In 1995, no draft-eligible players were part of
Canadas dominant gold medal run and in 2005, only one made it and he went by the
name Sidney Crosby. “Obviously, tradition has shown that this is a 19-year-old
tournament,” said Canadian head coach Steve Spott, “but the players we have that
are draft-eligible deserve to be here and ultimately theyre going to be
evaluated like any 19-year-old players.” “Steve made it clear to all of them
when they came in: age isnt a factor here,” said Hockey Canada head scout Kevin
Prendergast. “If theyre the best players, theyll make the team.” With that in
mind, we asked the four young guns at the 2012 camp – Jonathan Drouin,
Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan and Hunter Shinkaruk – what they have to do to
overcome the odds and make what may go down as one of the strongest Canadian
world junior teams ever assembled. Theres Less Pressure For Me “I dont think Im
going to change too much,” said MacKinnon, the Halifax Mooseheads centre, who
ranks second on TSN scout Craig Buttons latest list of top prospects.
“Obviously, Ill adapt to a role. Whatever role Im given, Ill adapt to it. There
are countless talented guys coming to camp and a lot of guys are fighting for
the same spot so Ive got to adapt quickly.” MacKinnon shrugged when informed
that Crosby, a fellow Cole Harbour, NS native, was the only draft-eligible
player to get picked to play on a Canadian junior team during an NHL work
stoppage. “I think theres less pressure for me, to be honest, because theres so
many good players here,” he said. MacKinnon will play alongside his Halifax
linemate Jonathan Drouin during Tuesday nights intra-squad game. The pair may be
the most dynamic duo in the Canadian Hockey League with MacKinnon scoring 22
times in 30 games and Drouin netting 19 goals in 24 games. “Were pretty
similar,” said Drouin, noting their love of sushi leads them to a local Japanese
restaurant three times a week. “We always hang out a lot and it helps our on-ice
chemistry. Were best friends off the ice.” Hockey Canada has done its best to
make life comfortable for MacKinnon this week, rooming him with
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who also attended a selection camp as a 17-year-old. “If
theres someone who can lend some advice, Ryan would be a good mentor for him,”
said Spott. “When we put our rooming list together, its about having guys that
are compatible and obviously for a young player like Nathan … theres a lot of
pressure on those guys so its about putting them with veteran players who can
help them through the process.” Adding Grit Drouin, who skyrocketed up Buttons
list this month, moving from No. 13 all the way up to No. 4, said he plans on
adding a little more physicality to his game during the selection camp. “Play a
good all-around game, play offensively like I play in Halifax, a little more
grit,” Drouin said, laying out his plan for the week.  Monahan, an Ottawa
forward with 12 goals in 24 games while playing for the last-place 67s this
season, is also vowing to up his physical game this week. And theres a good
reason why. It will be tough for the draft-eligible players to crack the top-six
forwards with Nugent-Hopkins likely to centre the No. 1 unit with
Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele on his wings. Ryan Strome will likely
anchor the second unit with Charles Hudon and Ty Rattie his potential linemates.
So MacKinnon, Drouin, Monahan and Shinkaruk may need to prove they can fill a
bottom-six role. And they would be competing against bigger guys – only Monahan
stands taller than six feet among the foursome – for those jobs. But Monahan, at
6-foot-2, 193 pounds, is certainly able to throw his weight around. “He is
strong enough,” agreed Spott. “We saw it this summer [at the Canada-Russia
Challenge] against a very strong Russian hockey club so strength for me, with
Sean, is not an issue.” And Monahan is eager to get his competitive juices
flowing again. Hes been sidelined due to a 10-game suspension (illegal hit to
the head in a game against the Plymouth Whalers on Nov. 18) for more than three
weeks. “Its not a good feeling, but it happens and youve got to deal with it,”
Monahan, ranked sixth on Buttons list, said. “You just have to work hard off the
ice to make the best of it and just move on.” The suspension wont cost Monahan
any points with Canadas coaching staff as Spott made it perfectly clear he has
no concerns about the Brampton, Ont. natives on-ice judgement. “Hes mature
beyond his years when it comes to the game,” Spott said on Tuesday. “His hockey
sense is, in my mind, at a National Hockey League level right now. Hes a guy
like Hudon, who can play in all situations, can play the wing or centre.” Speed
Key For Shinkaruk Shinkaruk, for his part, plans on sticking to what got him
here. “Coming in, the main thing Ive got to use is my speed,” said the Medicine
Hat Tigers forward, whos 11th on Buttons list. “I think it will allow me to play
in all roles. I think the coaching staff will see that. Ive got to come in and
use my creativity, use my shot and create offence. I feel, if I do that, thats
going to give me the biggest shot to make this team.” Shinkaruk, tied for eighth
in the WHL with 19 goals in 29 games, has always admired Crosby and would love
nothing better than to follow in his footsteps by making the junior team in a
lockout year. “Thatd be pretty neat to be in that category obviously,” he said.
“Im going to do everything I can this week to give myself the best shot of
making this team and hopefully when its all said and done Ill be in that group
with him. “I guess now its in my hands to make sure that dream becomes reality.”
Earl Thomas Seahawks Jersey . Although the
competition offers the clubs the realistic chance of a trophy, both know
elimination would leave them free to focus on more pressing domestic matters.
PSG is tied with Montpellier at the top of the French league, while Spurs are in
contention for a top-four finish in England. Bruce Irvin Womens Jersey . Peralta hit a
three-run homer in the second inning against Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil and
hit a solo shot in the ninth against Joel Carreno. The victory snapped Detroits
three-game losing streak, with the last two coming in Toronto, and ended the
Blue Jays three-game surge. http://www.nflseahawksteam.com/earl-thomas-jersey
. —The worn-out notebook with the blue cover that Scott Pioli drags out of
pile of paperwork on his desk is from 1994. Sidney Rice Jersey . Joe Lobendahn is in
Regina for a physical scheduled for Tuesday and if he passes, the club intends
to sign him. Lobendahn is expected to practice Wednesday and could start Sunday,
when the Roughriders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Russell Wilson Womens Jersey .Y. —
Overlooked and discounted for much of his career, Buffalo Bills running back
Fred Jackson cant even get a break in his own home.DURHAM, N.C. —Joe Torre is
returning to the dugout next year—to manage the United States at the World
Baseball Classic. Torre, who turns 72 next month, guided the New York Yankees to
four World Series championships and managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from
2008-10. He is now Major League Baseballs Executive Vice-President for Baseball
Operations. “I have been fortunate to have many different experiences throughout
my career, but being a part of Team USA will be a first, and I am very excited
about it,” Torre said in a statement released by USA Baseball on Thursday. The
tournament begins with qualifiers in September and November of 2012, with the
U.S. team starting up in March. Buck Martinez managed a U.S. team full of
All-Stars to a sixth-place finish in the first WBC in 2006 and Davey Johnson led
the U.S. squad into the semifinals in 2009. Johnson later returned to the majors
to manage the Washington Nationals. Torre, who spent 29 managing in the big
leagues, said he has no desire to follow Johnsons lead. “I dont miss it,” he
said on a conference call. Cortez Kennedy Jersey. . “I have no ambition
to audition for another job.” Torre said he will keep his duties at MLB during
the WBC. Part of Torres current job involves dealing with umpires. “Im going to
have to be careful when I argue with umpires,” he kidded. “May have to bring
them a drink of water.” Torre said he expected the U.S. roster to be a mix of
veterans and younger players, without mentioning any players by name. As