Canada WJC Selection Camp Day 2 Notebook: How Dale Hunter wants to play


Canada head coach Dale Hunter, back left, runs drills during practice at the team Canada world juniors selection camp in Oakville, Ont. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Canada’s selection camp for the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship continued on Tuesday from Oakville, Ontario. No cuts have been made yet, but Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino was on the scene and shares what he saw from the second day.

No Lexi: Alexis Lafreniere was kept off the ice for the second straight day. Hockey Canada GM Mark Hunter said he’s dealing with some bumps and bruises and is day-to-day.

Dudas Bagged: As for L.A. Kings prospect Aidan Dudas; he will not play in either of the USports games Wednesday and Thursday as he continues to recover from a left wrist issue. He was bag skated once again in order to keep his legs in game shape.

Zary for Pelletier: When selecting Connor Zary to replace the injured Jakob Pelletier, Hockey Canada was looking for someone with similar traits. Hard-nosed, competitive, skilled and detailed in both ends of the rink. Zary also had some currency from the U18 worlds where he put up seven points in seven games.

Five-Man Units: Based on battle drills, the team was divided into groups of five. Typically defencemen are dressed in black jerseys and the forwards are divided by lines in coloured jerseys.

Mercer Me: Dawson Mercer, when asked about not getting invited to the summer showcase, but being invited to selection camp: “I never doubted myself.”

Mercer Me II: Mercer looks to be in serious consideration for a final roster spot, when you considered he practiced on a line with Connor McMichael at left wing and Akil Thomas at centre. Plus, he’s a right shot, and while there are six right shot forwards on the roster three of them — Ty Dellandrea, Dylan Cozens, and Akil Thomas — are centres.

Fishing Anyone?: IIHF rules state 17-year-old players must wear some sort of facial protection. Quinton Byfield has selected the rare clear visor, full facial option better known as the “fishbowl,” something he says he’s accustomed to from his minor hockey days in the York-Simcoe Express program.

Q7: Byfield was stuck in the Sudbury airport for seven hours Monday, forcing him to miss the entire first day of practice.

Forward Quinton Byfield shoots the puck during practice at the team Canada world juniors selection camp in Oakville, Ont. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Noah In: With Nick Leddy out of the lineup for the NY Islanders Monday night, Noah Dobson was inserted. He played 9:34 with a plus-2 rating. It was his eighth game of the season. Team Canada remains hopeful he’ll be allowed to compete at the WJC.

Jonesing for a Record: When asked about the goaltending situation, Peterborough’s Hunter Jones responded: “there’s not really a go-to guy right now.” He also made sure to mention that he’s currently on pace to break the Peterborough franchise single season record for wins, currently owned by Rick Laferriere who had 38 in 1979-80.

Hey Mr. Jones: Jones also says he is familiar with Olivier Rodrigue from the summer showcase and works out in the summer with Guelph’s Nico Daws. The two share the same off-season goalie coach in Matt Smith, who works out of Cambridge, Ont.

Nico’s Numbers: With help from Crease Giants, Rob Vollman and Greg Balloch and their analytics, there are at least two categories that Nico Daws ranks first in all of the CHL.

1. GSAA/30: “The rate version of GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average). It tells us how many goals saved above average a goalie has per every 30 shots faced.

Nico Daws ranks first with a 1.440 rate.

2. Quality Start Percentage: “A quality start is defined when the goaltender achieves the Average League Save Percentage during the game played.”

Nico Daws ranks first with a 90% rate (18/20).

Hunter to Hunter: When asked what type of coach Dale is, brother Mark responded that he’s calm, respected, has a presence, not in-your-face and he makes his point with ice-time.

ID Please: In describing the identity of this group, Mark Hunter said he expects his team to be hard-working, with good speed. He expects his defence to be solid, mobile, puck-moving and to play with speed.

Cuts: It’s unlikely any cuts will be made before Thursday. With two games instead of three against the USports All-Stars, the dynamic of the camp is somewhat different than in years passed.

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