Sutter's junior camp no holiday

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Brent Sutter will settle for nothing less than coaching Canada to a gold medal at the 2005 world junior championship and if he ruffles a few feathers along the way, tough.

Sutter instituted a number of changes at the August evaluation camp and has more in mind for the team's selection camp next month in Winnipeg.

After all, Canada has not won gold at the world junior since 1997, so why not shake things up to an extent?

"A lot of these guys will be pros one day, so we tried to run the summer camp as close to a pro camp as we could and we'll do that again in December," Sutter said. "Changes are good and I think accountability is good. It might piss some people off but I don't care."

Unlike past years, where cuts at the selection camp have come in stages and in the early hours of the morning, there likely will be only one set of cuts and it would come in the middle of the last day of camp. The plan is to invite 28-30 players instead of the usual 34-36, mostly because there could be as many as 13 returnees from last winter. In the summer, camp was a couple of days shorter and the two teams of players were quarantined from each other, which helped ratchet up the intensity level. Sutter is adamant no roster spots are guaranteed to returning players.

"We had NHL scouts telling us the summer camp was the most intense they had seen in five or six years," Sutter said. "From the first day, we wanted the players to know this was the way it was going to be. We could have so many returning players and it is important to keep them focused."

That goal has been accomplished so far, Kitchener Rangers captain Michael Richards said. Richards was integral in helping Canada win silver at the 2004 world junior.

"It's going to be fun to go into Winnipeg and fight for jobs," Richards said. "If spots were guaranteed, it would be more relaxed. A year ago the atmosphere at the summer camp was different. We went to Banff for a little bit of a holiday, but this year it was all business."

Sutter's implementations have the backing of Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson. There is the idea Sutter was courted by Hockey Canada and didn't apply for the job, but both Sutter and Nicholson said there was a formal application.

"You hire a coach, and you let him do his thing," Nicholson said.

"Our program has been successful but we better be open to what Brent brings."


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