Hockey Canada announced a 35-player selection camp roster for the 2022 world juniors on Wednesday. Due to COVID protocols, camp will be shortened to allow for the final roster to move into quarantine before transitioning to the Edmonton bubble for the duration of the tournament. There will be two days of practice and two games against a USports team from Dec. 9-12 before final decisions are made on the 25-man roster.
Four players on this roster have already played NHL games in Cole Perfetti, Jake Neigbours, Hendrix Lapierre and Mason McTavish, the last three of whom have already scored their first NHL goals.
No. 1 in 2022
Kingston’s Shane Wright, the projected first overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft, will get his second crack at making the team after a disappointing camp last year where he simply couldn’t find his stride. Wright lead Canada to gold at the U18 worlds and is up over a point per game for the OHL’s Frontenacs, despite being fourth in team scoring.
No. 1 in 2023?
Connor Bedard will attempt to become one of a handful of 16-year-olds in history to make Team Canada’s WJC squad and join a list that includes Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros and Connor McDavid. Bedard has 17 points in 21 games for a Regina team that has endured a coaching change. Canada’s Director of Player Personnel, Alan Millar, knows the player well. With Millar having worked previously as GM for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, he not only got to see plenty of Bedard in the Regina bubble last season, but was quick to point out that Bedard produced 10 of his team-leading 14 points when it counted most for Canada in the medal round of the 2021 U18 worlds.
Canada will employ a roster composition of three goalies, eight defencemen, and 14 forwards. Typically, IIHF rules allow for 22-man rosters, but COVID protocols have made a concession for an additional three players. This was also the case last year.
There are three returnees from last year’s silver medal-winning Canadian team in Perfetti, defenceman Kaiden Guhle and goaltender Dylan Garand. Guhle was traded from Prince Albert to Edmonton on Wednesday.
Quinton Byfield of the L.A. Kings remains on the sidelines with an injury, as do Flyers prospects Tyson Foerster and Zayde Wisdom.
Stay in the Show
In terms of WJC eligible players still in the NHL, Jamie Drysdale is playing over 20 minutes per game for Anaheim. Columbus’ Cole Sillinger, who has nine points in 20 games, is centreing Columbus’ second line. And Carolina’s Seth Jarvis has seen time on the Canes’ top line while putting up seven points in 14 games played.
Maize and Blue in the Red and White
University of Michigan’s Owen Power, the first overall pick by Buffalo in the 2021 NHL draft, will participate. Due to the time he would’ve missed last year to come to the WJC, he along with Michigan head coach Mel Pearson, decided it would be best to stay the course in his freshman season and not miss the 51 days it would have required to participate (including quarantine). Power currently sits tied for second in NCAA play with 23 points in 16 games. He won a World Championship gold with Canada last summer and now looks to become the first player ever to win a men’s senior world and a world junior gold before competing in an NHL game.
Power’s Michigan teammate, and Columbus first-rounder Kent Johnson, also earned an invite to Canada’s camp. He’s tied with Power at 23 points on the season.
The two biggest surprises in Canada’s camp have to be Ryan Tverberg of UConn and Eliot Desnoyers of QMJHL Halifax. Tverberg is a seventh-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ from 2020 and leads the Huskies in scoring. Desnoyers is an Arizona fifth-rounder, also from 2020. As of Wednesday, he was fifth in league scoring with 34 points, only eight of which have come on the power play.
The only competition in goal will be for the starter’s job as all three names to camp will be on the final team. Garand is the returnee and will be joined by Detroit first-rounder Sebastian Cossa and former Junior C netminder Brett Brochu, currently with the London Knights.
A few surprising omissions include WHL leading scorer Matthew Savoie, Anaheim first-rounder Jacob Perreault, Blainville-Boisbriand defenceman Miguel Tourigny, who leads all CHL defencemen with 16 goals, Barrie defenceman Brandt Clarke (who leads the OHL in defencemen scoring) and Sudbury centre Chase Stillman, who played a role Canada head coach Dave Cameron would admire with Canada’s U18 gold medal team.
Cameron last coached Canada at the world juniors in Buffalo in 2011. Canada led the gold medal game 3-0 going into the third period that year before dropping a 5-3 decision to Russia.
Nobody knows Cameron like James Boyd. The two spent years together working in Toronto and Mississauga and it’s clear the management team had a vision in coming up with the 35-player list. “This is not an All-star team, hard skill over soft skill, details, being able to overcome challenges and adversity,” were small bits of the messaging from Wednesday’s presser. The point was stressed that this team will be composed to handle playing in a variety of ways and to face a number of challenges and adversity. The final roster will be constructed as such.
Canada last won on home ice when the tournament was hosted jointly by Montreal and Toronto in 2015.
In the Pool
Canada, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria compose Group A. Reigning gold medalists USA will play in a pool with Russia, Sweden, Slovakia and Switzerland.
“We’re not building a team for Boxing Day, we’re building a team for January 5th,” said Director of Player Personnel Alan Millar.
USA, the reigning gold medalists, feature six first-round NHL draft picks and will participate in camp in Plymouth, Mich., from December 13-15.
The US has never won back-to-back tournaments, but has three gold medals in the past nine years.
Maize and Blue in the Red, White and Blue
The Wolverines feature four players on USA’s roster in Luke Hughes (New Jersey pick), Jacob Truscott (Vancouver), Thomas Bordeleau (San Jose) and Mackie Samoskevich (Florida).
They US returns three defencemen in L.A. Kings prospect Brock Faber and Ottawa draft picks Ty Kleven and Jake Sanderson. Up front, Seattle’s first ever draft pick, Matty Beniers, is one of three returnees. Chicago’s Landon Slaggert and Ranger pick Brett Berard are the others.
The Americans have called upon just two first-year draft eligibles, goalie Dylan Silverstein and winger Logan Cooley.
Wolves and COVID
With 12 positive test results for COVID-19, the Sudbury Wolves were forced to cease operations for at least 10 days. Team officials spent Wednesday delivering workout gear to billet homes. Players, if feeling up to it, will participate in daily workouts.
While in isolation, players will also be subject to personal meetings with coaches, team building and individual video sessions over Zoom.
Unfortunately, some of the billet families have been forced to self-isolate as well.
As of Wednesday afternoon, all who tested positive were either asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms.
One player of particular note is defenceman Jack Thompson. The Tampa Bay prospect was selected to participate in Hockey Canada’s U20 selection camp. Thompson is working with the Wolves, the Lightning and Hockey Canada to make sure he’s able to participate in camp, which begins Dec. 9. It is unknown as to whether or not Thompson is one of the 12 players who tested positive, but even with the mandatory 10-day waiting period, Thompson would be eligible to participate in the full camp.
Team members will re-test after seven days and if results are negative, will be able to get back to business after the mandatory 10 days.
By all accounts, local health authorities and league officials have been extremely supportive in Sudbury’s time of need.
Capital City Challenge Gold Game
This tournament, featuring three U17 teams and the women’s national team, concluded Wednesday. In a back and forth affair for the gold medal game, Riley Heidt of Prince George put Team Red ahead 5-4 with 29 seconds left only to have Team Black tie it with a goal from Winnipeg’s Zach Benson at 19:59. Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie won it for Team Black at the 9:19 mark of overtime, his 11th point of the tourney.
Team Black was led by Benson, who put up 12 points over five games, while Team Red received seven-point performances from Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) Matthew Wood and Moose Jaw’s (WHL) Brayden Yager.
Team White defeated the National Women’s team 6-1 to capture the bronze medal.
The Women’s National team was lead by Marie-Philip Poulin with four points in three games. Seven players accumulated two points apiece .
Team White was lead by Ethan Gauthier of Sherbrooke, who put up nine points in five games, including an assist on Ty Peddle’s game-winner.
Team Black was led by Winnipeg’s Zach Benson, who finished the tournament with 11 points in four games. Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie finished second with nine points.
My good pal, and Flames radio analyst Peter Loubardias couldn’t stop raving about Yager, whom many have already compared to Nathan MacKinnon.
Petes New Coach
In case you haven’t seen this, it’s unreal. Peterborough Petes head coach Rob Wilson is currently with the U17s in Ottawa for the tournament that just wrapped. His Petes hosted Ottawa on Sunday, and so a new coach took the reins while Wilson was away.
By the way, the Petes won 3-2.
You can purchase t-shirts here, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Speaking of the Petes, when the third overall pick from the 2021 draft, Mason McTavish, was sent back to Peterborough, it was in the hopes he would participate in the world juniors and give the Petes a big lift. He had a hat trick in his first game back, a 5-3 win versus North Bay, and opened the scoring in aforementioned Cal Wilson’s coaching debut.
It’s Teddy Bear toss season in the CHL. If you feel comfortable enough to attend a game, be sure to check your local team’s schedule and try to attend on Teddy Bear toss night. It’s a blast and it will go a long way in making a child’s holidays.
Gone Way too Soon
Deepest condolences to the Swaby family. Former Tri-City Americans and Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Matt Swaby left us way too soon. He leaves behind wife Carla and three kids. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Carla and the children.
Canada's Auger-Aliassime suffers agonizing 5-set loss to Medvedev at Australian Open – CBC Sports
Felix Auger-Aliassime was one point away from a win over world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and a spot in the Australian Open semifinals.
But the young Canadian couldn’t finish the match off, and the Russian veteran made the most of his reprieve.
One hour and 14 minutes later, Medvedev had come back from a two-sets-to-none deficit at a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in his career and stunned Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-4.
“You step on the court, you want to have no regrets,” Auger-Aliassime said after the four hour, 42-minute quarter-final marathon that ended early Thursday morning in Melbourne. “I can go back and think I wish I’d made different choices or wish Daniil didn’t play as well in certain moments. But, yeah, it was a good effort.
“At the end of the day, I can’t regret the effort that I put in, and the chances I gave myself.”
WATCH | Auger-Aliassime drops heartbreaker to Medvedev:
With the lion’s share of support from a good crowd held down somewhat by government-imposed limits due to COVID-19, the 21-year-old from Montreal was in control for much of the early going.
“Of course I would have loved to win. I love to win every time. It sucks to lose in the end, but that’s life. I just need to accept it,” he said.
Rain delay flips momentum
A surprisingly erratic Medvedev looked subpar physically. An effortful grunt accompanied his every move, and he was sweating heavily. The 25-year-old had issues with everything from the crowd, to the editorial choices on the giant screens, to the moving roof atop Rod Laver Arena.
He was searching for solutions, and not finding any holes in Auger-Aliassime’s game.
“I was not playing my best, and Felix was playing unbelievable,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview after the win. “He was serving unbelievable. He was all over me. I didn’t really know what to do.”
And then, a little rain changed everything — at least for Medvedev.
With the Russian serving at 2-1 in the third-set tiebreak, there was a seven-minute delay as a brief shower led the retractable roof to be closed and the court dried off with towels by the ball kids.
Medvedev went off court briefly as Auger-Aliassime sat in his chair, muttering to himself.
The Russian returned and won five of the next points, and the third set.
“In the first set and in the tiebreak I was sweating like hell and made a few double faults, because my hand was really slippery,” said Medvedev, who tried swapping out his wristbands for dry ones but still couldn’t get a good grip.
“When they closed the roof, I felt the momentum changed, and I felt like I could go through the ball better.”
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Once the air conditioning kicked in, the temperature inside Rod Laver Arena dropped a good 10 degrees. And that helped.
There was no rain for the rest of the match. But the roof remained closed.
Small missed opportunities
Auger-Aliassime conceded that there were small moments of opportunity even before that tiebreak — little openings that, if exploited, might have given him a straight-sets win.
The experienced champions recognize those moments, and put pedal to metal to finish things off. At 21, Auger-Aliassime is still learning.
Still, in the fourth set, serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Medvedev double-faulted and gifted the Canadian a match point.
And then he wrenched it away with a massive 213 km/hour serve — his fastest of the night.
Medvedev was trying everything. Even then, Auger-Aliassime had opportunities to break early in the fifth set. But every time the door was slightly ajar Medvedev found a solution, or Auger-Aliassime couldn’t quite make the play.
“I told myself: what would Novak [Djokovic] do?” said Medvedev, to a chorus of boos of the Melbourne crowd at the mere mention of the absent nine-time champion’s name.
“That’s what came to my mind, because he’s one of the greatest champions — and Rafa [Nadal] and Roger [Federer], to be honest,” he added. “I’m going to make him work.
“If he wants to win it, he needs to fight for the last point.”
Medvedev changed his return position from well beyond the Melbourne banner behind the baseline, moving up several metres into the court.
He wasted as little time as humanly possible between points on his serve — a couple of times, he was ready to serve before chair umpire Damien Dumusois had even started the 25-second serve clock.
He gave no time for his opponent to get set for the return, and Auger-Aliassime’s return effectiveness dropped.
Medvedev came into the net a lot more in the tiebreaks, and when he was behind.
Suddenly, none of the external distractions bothered him. He no longer looked as though he was struggling physically.
For Auger-Aliassime, who had a medical timeout at 2-3 in the fifth set to have some tape added to an already tightly wrapped right ankle, the plan in 2022 is to find the silver lining — no matter what.
“It’s no surprise [Medvedev] is where he is now. He fights, tries to find solutions. He plays well when he needs to,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I think he was just a little bit more clutch than me — a little bit more solid at times.
“It comes with experience as well, I think. But I’m looking forward to the next time I can put myself in that situation. I believe I can cross the line.”
Auger-Aliassime was looking to reach his second straight Grand Slam semifinal. He made it to the final four of last year’s U.S. Open, where he also lost to eventual champion Medvedev.
Still, the Montrealer has made it to at least the quarter-finals in his last three Grand Slams.
Medvedev is looking to become the first man in the Open era to win his first two Grand Slam titles in consecutive tournaments. He faces French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday.
Nadal, seeking a men’s record 21st major title to break a tie with Djokovic and Federer, will play Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini in the other semifinal match.
Denis Shapovalov loses it on Aussie Open umpire: 'You guys are all corrupt' – Yahoo Canada Sports
Playing in the Australian Open certainly comes with its stressors, and that was especially true for Denis Shapovalov Monday night as he squared off with one of the world’s best in the quarterfinals.
After upsetting No. 3 ranked Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the fourth round less than two days before, Shapovalov let his frustrations fly in his epic five-set loss to No. 6 Rafael Nadal, starting with a heated tirade directed at chair umpire Carlos Bernardes.
After dropping the first set 3-6 to a top-of-form Nadal, Shapovalov lost it when he believed Nadal was given additional time to change ends — something Nadal has been accused of before.
“You started the clock so long ago and [Nadal is] still not ready to play,” Shapo yelled toward the umpire. “You’ve got to code him.”
“He is not ready to play,” Bernardes replied.
“Are you kidding me? You guys are all corrupt,” Shapovalov responded.
Moments later, Shapo stared down Bernardes once again, before the umpire gave it right back.
“He is out of order. The clock was at seven and he had his hands in the air like Rafa was doing something wrong,” the broadcast’s commentary team said of the Canadian’s method of voicing his frustrations on that particular play.
“Shapovalov is out of order here.”
To Nadal’s credit, he later walked to the middle of the court and attempted to settle the dispute and calm his opponent down, which seemingly diffused things.
Shapovalov addressed the situation following the match, saying he got carried away in the heat of the moment. But he did stand by his implication that Nadal benefited from preferential treatment.
“I think I misspoke when I said (Bernardes) is corrupt, or whatever I said. It’s definitely emotional, but I do stand by my side,” Shapovalov said. “I think it’s unfair how much Rafa is getting away with.
“Where is the line? … I respect everything that Rafa has done and I think he’s an unbelievable player. But there have got to be some boundaries, some rules set. It’s just so frustrating as a player. You feel like you’re not just playing against the player; you’re playing against the umpires, you’re playing against so much more.”
Nadal chalked Shapovalov’s comments up to a combination of youth and frustration.
“I honestly feel sorry for him,” Nadal said. “I think he played a great match for a long time. Of course it’s tough to accept to lose a match like this. Especially after I was feeling destroyed and probably he felt that, and then I was able to manage to win the match, no?”
“He’s young. I made a lot of mistakes too when I was younger, and probably he will understand later on, after he thinks the proper way, that probably he was not right today.”
To be fair to Shapo — though his words likely did cross the line — having to try and cope with a vintage Nadal performance like this one would frustrate the hell out of anybody.
More from Yahoo Sports
Canada's Olympic men's hockey team is light on big names, but 2 stand out – CBC Sports
This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.
Canada named its replacement Olympic men’s hockey team
Nearly five weeks after the NHL and its players backed out of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and just 15 days before the men’s tournament begins, Canada finally announced the roster that will try to improve on the country’s bronze-medal finish from the 2018 Games, which the NHL also skipped.
Stepping in to replace the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are, well, mostly a lot of guys. Some, you might remember. Many, you’ve probably never heard of. Only two names really stand out:
Eric Staal: Seventeen of Canada’s 25 players have appeared in the NHL, and Staal is the most experienced and accomplished among them. The 37-year-old has played in nearly 1,300 regular-season games and notched more than 1,000 points, including 441 goals. Staal’s best season was his second in the league, 2005-06, when he had 45 goals and 100 points and then led the playoffs in scoring to help Carolina win an improbable Stanley Cup in that weird post-lockout year. Last season, Staal helped Montreal on its surprising run to the Cup final. He hasn’t played for anyone this season, beyond a brief conditioning stint with an American Hockey League team, but he stayed in shape while waiting for a call. Now he’s looking to add an Olympic gold medal without NHL superstar teammates after winning one with them in Vancouver in 2010.
Owen Power: The 6-foot-6 teenage defenceman is the most interesting player on the Canadian team. Picked first overall in last year’s NHL draft by Buffalo, Power opted to return to the University of Michigan for another season. At the world juniors in December, he became the first Canadian defenceman in the history of the tournament to score a hat trick. Unfortunately, he only got to play two games before the event was cancelled. Power also handled himself well against grown men at last year’s world championship, recording three assists in 10 games to help Canada win gold.
Other names that might ring a bell include forwards Daniel Winnik, David Desharnais, Adam Cracknell and Josh Ho-Sang; and defencemen Jason Demers and Maxim Noreau. The latter was Canada’s scoring co-leader at the 2018 Olympics.
The goalies are Devon Levi, Edward Pasquale and Matt Tomkins. They’re extremely light on NHL experience — just three games total, all by Pasquale. But the 20-year-old Levi, who plays for a U.S. university, did break Carey Price’s world juniors save percentage record a year ago.
Most guys on the roster earn their living in European pro leagues. Nine players are in the Russia-based KHL, while eight are in the Swiss, Swedish or German leagues. Five play in the AHL (North America’s top minor league) and three in the NCAA (American universities/colleges). See the complete roster and read more about it here. Get some more great tidbits on the team by watching the video below by CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo.
The squad was picked under the direction of former NHL star Shane Doan, who stepped in as Canada’s general manager after the NHL bailed on the Olympics. The head coach is former Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins bench boss Claude Julien. Apropos of absolutely nothing, have you ever seen Julien with hair? He looks like everyone’s dad in the ’80s.
Canada’s first game is Feb. 10 at 8:10 a.m. ET vs. Germany, a surprising silver medallist in 2018. Canada’s other group-stage contests are Feb. 11 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. the United States and Feb. 13 at 8:10 a.m. ET vs. China.
No one is eliminated right after the group stage, but these games are still important because the top team in each of the three groups, plus the best second-place team, advance directly to the quarter-finals. Everyone else must try to play their way into the quarters via a one-game playoff. The quarter-finals are on Feb. 15 and 16 in Canadian time zones. The semis are Feb. 17 and 18. The gold-medal game is Saturday, Feb. 19 at 11:10 p.m. ET.
The results of one of the most controversial and consequential Baseball Hall of Fame votes ever will be revealed tonight
It’s last call for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling, all of whom are appearing on the ballot for the 10th and final time. Bonds and Clemens are among the very best players of all time. Literally no one disputes that their careers are Hall-of-Fame calibre. Sosa isn’t quite on that level, but the guy hit 609 home runs — the ninth-most in MLB history. His numbers say he belongs too. The problem for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa is that they’ve all been credibly linked to steroid use, automatically disqualifying them in the eyes of some voters.
Schilling’s predicament is a bit different. He’s never been tied to performance-enhancing drugs and was one of the best pitchers of his era. But his numbers aren’t as overwhelming, giving voters enough cover to punish him for being one of the great blowhards in baseball history (that’s saying something) and now also a relentless social-media s—poster.
To get into the Hall, a player needs to be named on at least 75 per cent of the 400 or so ballots submitted by baseball writers. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s wonderful Hall of Fame tracker, Bonds is polling at around 78 per cent based on the ballots that have been publicly revealed. Clemens is at about 77. But only half of voters have put their ballots out there and, historically, Bonds and Clemens end up getting far less support from those who choose not to. So they’ll be on pins and needles leading up to the 6 p.m. ET announcement. Things aren’t looking so good for Schilling (61 per cent) and Sosa (24).
Also fascinating are the polling numbers for a pair of first-time-eligible superstars. Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are both all-time greats who have been linked to steroids. Objectively, Rodriguez is greater — he hit 696 home runs while spending a big chunk of his career at shortstop, helping revolutionize the position in the process. Ortiz, though he delivered many more post-season heroics than Rodriguez, hit 541 dingers mostly as a DH. Not as impressive. But, subjectively, Big Papi is one of the most beloved players ever. A-Rod’s personality is, well, a bit lacking. I’ll let you guess which one of them is polling at 84 per cent and who’s at 39.
Denis Shapovalov went down swinging. The 14th-seeded Canadian’s first trip to the Australian Open quarter-finals ended with a hard-fought, five-set, four-hour loss today to Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who’s going for his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title. No shame in that, but Shapovalov did not accept the result quietly. Frustrated by the lengthy breaks and amount of time between points afforded to his much older opponent, Shapovalov lashed out at the chair umpire, saying “you guys are all corrupt.” He also aired his grievances to reporters in his post-match press conference. “I respect everything that Rafa has done, and I think he’s an unbelievable player,” Shapovalov said. “But there’s got to be some boundaries, some rules set.” Canada’s hopes now rest completely on Felix Auger-Aliassime. The No. 9 seed’s quarter-final opponent is world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, the highest-ranked player in the men’s tournament after Novak Djokovic was kicked out of the country. The match goes tonight at 3:30 a.m. ET. Read more about Shapovalov’s heated loss and watch highlights here.
A new NHL ironman will be crowned tonight. Philadelphia defenceman Keith Yandle tied Doug Jarvis’ all-time record last night by playing in his 964th consecutive game without missing one. He’ll break it tonight when the Flyers visit the Islanders. Jarvis’ streak ended 35 years ago. Yandle’s reign could be shorter-lived, as a slightly younger (and somewhat surprising) player is close behind him. Arizona’s Phil Kessel — not exactly the picture of elite physical fitness, at least at a glance — has played in 940 straight. Read what Jarvis thinks of his record being broken by Yandle here.
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