Wake up sleepy head, you're going camping

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Forget about mothers knowing best, Devan Dubnyk's mother knew first, and she wasn't sitting on the news one minute longer than she had to - even if it meant rousting her kid out of bed with an early morning wake-up call.

Early morning by teenage-boy standards, anyway.

"She called me at about eight and said she couldn't wait any longer, she had to tell me I made the Canadian junior selection camp," said Edmonton's first pick in the 2004 draft. "I had a little trouble showing my excitement because I was a little tired, but definitely it was nice to hear.

NO RETURNING GOALIES

"I was looking forward to this day for a while, hoping it would be the right outcome. It's nice that I'm going to at least get a chance to see if I can make it."

There are no returning goalies for the Canadian Juniors this year, but competition at the Winnipeg training camp will be fierce and fast. Camp opens Dec. 12 and the final team will be announced on the 16th.

Dubnyk is up against Rejean Beauchemin of the Prince Albert Raiders, Jeff Glass of the Kootenay Ice and Kevin Nastiuk, who's putting up ridiculous numbers in Medicine Hat (12-2 with six shutouts, GAA of 0.98 and a save percentage of .961).

Dubnyk, 6-5 and 195 pounds, doesn't have spectacular stats, but he's been a workhorse in Kamloops, seeing plenty of rubber on a last-place Blazer team.

"I think it's going to come down to how each guy plays at the camp," said the 18-year-old from Calgary. "For a tournament like this it depends on who's playing well at the time. It's a short tournament so you have to go with the guy who's hot."

Dubnyk is the only Oilers prospect on Team Canada, but the city of Edmonton will be represented by Shawn Belle, a defenceman with Tri-Cities, and hard-hitting defenceman Dion Phaneuf of the Red Deer Rebels.

Phaneuf was there last year and called it one of the best, and worst, experiences of his young life.

"It was an amazing opportunity, something I'll never forget," said the Calgary Flames' draft pick who's a candidate to be captain Canada. "But losing that last game is the toughest thing I've ever had to go through as a player. I'm looking forward to getting back there with the team we're going to have this year and finishing the job."

STRONGEST TEAM SINCE '95

He'll be skating with a lot of familiar faces - 31 of the 32 players selected to the camp are from the WHL. In addition to being west-heavy, Brent Sutter's squad figures to be the strongest Canadian Junior team since the last NHL lockout, when the 1995 team, the one Bret Lindros couldn't make, went undefeated in a gold-medal run at Red Deer.

"Everybody as a kid just dreams about this team growing up," said Dubnyk. "I know I have. I watched the World Juniors for as long as I can remember. Being this close to being a part of it is pretty exciting."

Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Sidney Crosby's teammate in Rimouski and Edmonton's first-round pick in 2003, was left off the list. Only three QMJHL players were invited.

The tournament begins Christmas Day in Grand Forks, North Dakota.


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