Canadians not lacking in leadership

SCOTT FISHER

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

You can't swing a hockey stick around the Team Canada dressing room without hitting a team captain.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg yesterday selected five leaders from the group of 15 players who wear letters with their respective junior clubs.

In addition to captain Karl Alzner, four alternates -- Brad Marchand, Brandon Sutter, Logan Pyett and Stefan Legein -- will share the leadership role.

There will be two alternates per game on a rotating basis.

"We did the same thing last year," Hartsburg said.

"I think the more kids you have involved in the leadership, the better. We could have had 10 kids. There's a lot of captains here.

"The four assistants all bring something different. Their personalities are different.

"We're excited about this group and think they'll do a great job for us."

Alzner and Marchand are the only returning players from last year's gold-medal winning team.

With fellow Super Series teammates Pyett, Sutter and Legein helping out, Hartsburg said the players have a key role in the room.

"With every team, captains are important," he said.

"But the leadership on this team will be very important if they can, in the dressing room, sift through some of the things that are going to happen with us.

"In this tournament, with the referees, the emotion in the building -- or some nights, the (lack of) emotion in the building -- it'll be important to have a group that can help fight through that stuff.

"We feel comfortable they'll keep the group on the right path in the dressing room."

Team Canada, which left for Europe yesterday, doesn't open the world junior tournament until Boxing Day against the host Czech Republic on TSN.

That gives the squad almost two weeks to develop a bond and come together.

"We'll do whatever we can to help," Hartsburg said.

"But the players are the ones who really have to do that. We talked to the captains this morning but a lot of these kids were together this summer, so I think that helps."

ICE CHIPS

Canada has medaled at nine straight world junior tourneys, including the current run of three consecutive golds ... Sixteen of the 22 players on the roster took part in last summer's Super Series against the Russians ... Wayne Simmonds (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) will be playing international hockey for the first time.


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