Dustin Boyd doesn't care if he was the last player chosen to attend Team Canada's evaluation camp. The only thing that matters to the Winnipegger right now is having the opportunity to do his part to be among the final 22 who make the team.
Boyd got his first glimpse of the MTS Centre yesterday afternoon and hit the ice last night for the first Team Canada practice, as preparations for the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, N.D. and Thief River Falls, Minn. continued in earnest.
"I've been waiting for this day for a few weeks now and I want to show what I have," said Boyd, now in his third season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.
Due to the abundance of depth on the roster, Boyd needs an outstanding showing at camp to make the squad. That doesn't bring any additional pressure, it's just a fact of life.
Boyd was a late addition to the summer selection camp when Calgary Hitmen forward Andrew Ladd suffered a shoulder injury.
An injury to Prince Albert Raiders forward Kyle Chipchura opened the door for this invitation and Boyd plans to make the most of it.
"I just have to go out there and hopefully, turn some heads," said Boyd, who led the Manitoba Midget AAA league in scoring in 2001-02 as a member of the Winnipeg Hawks.
From a team standpoint this season has been an epic struggle for Boyd, whose squad took 20 games before notching their first victory.
The Warriors got off to a horrible 2-23-5-1 start before firing head coach Parry Shockey on Dec. 6. Fortunately for interim head coach Steve Young, the Warriors have rallied around him with two consecutive victories.
"Your confidence can get down with all the losing, but we had a two-game winning streak to give us four wins on the year," said Boyd, a third round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2004 NHL entry draft, who recently represented the WHL in the ADT Canada Russia Challenge.
"This is just refreshing. For a few weeks there, it was hard to go to the rink when you're losing every day. Coming here is a whole different atmosphere."
Boyd said attending the summer evaluation camp helped prepare him for the intensity level that will be expected during the coming days.
"I'm a playmaking centre and I try to play a high-energy role," said Boyd, who has 11 goals and 31 points in 31 games this season. "I'm a hard hitter and I like to get things going."
LATE ARRIVALS: Forwards Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron did not participate in last night's skate.
Crosby was delayed because of weather and was scheduled to arrive later last night, while Bergeron suited up for the Providence Bruins of the AHL and had an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators.
"You can't help what transportation does and you don't control weather," said Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter.
Winger Anthony Stewart left the ice early, but was flying throughout the on-ice session. Sutter said there was no cause for alarm.