Sutter sends returning jrs. wake-up call

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter doesn't usually single out individual players, but he admitted that's exactly what he'd done last night. Unhappy with some of his returning veterans -- the players expected to lead Canada in its quest for a world junior gold medal -- Sutter basically announced which ones had made the team, by resting them for last night's game against the U of M Bisons.

The other four -- forwards Anthony Stewart and Stephen Dixon and defencemen Braydon Coburn and Shawn Belle -- were sent a message.

"That was part of the decision of sitting nine guys out, to see if it would wake some guys up," Sutter said. "Some of our veteran guys were a little complacent through the first couple of games. It was better tonight."

Sure enough, Stewart had his best game, scoring once in a 6-3 Team Canada victory over the U of M Bisons. Coburn added two assists, as Canada outshot the Bisons, 40-14.

But it was Peterborough, Ont., product Corey Perry who stole the show, dazzling 4,582 fans at the MTS Centre with two goals and an assist and suggesting he's ready to make up for being cut last year.

"I haven't done what I wanted to do so far," Perry said. "Tonight was the night."

Sutter certainly noticed, calling it Perry's best night of the week.

"No question about that," Sutter said. "He battled harder, competed harder for the puck. His awareness was better."

Perry's second-period assist may have been his most impressive moment, as he brought the puck in front one-handed, setting up Winnipegger Dustin Boyd for the tap-in.

Clarke MacArthur and David Bolland scored the other goals for Canada.

The battle for two goaltender spots didn't get much clearer, as Jeff Glass was the only netminder of four who didn't allow a goal.

Devan Dubnyk gave up three on nine Bison shots.

At the other end, Winnipeg's Reg Beauchemin and Edmonton's Kevin Nastiuk both gave up three goals, as they played for the U of M and were peppered with shots.

Bison scorers were David Cameron, Grant Jacobsen and Jordan Little.

Sutter will name his roster today, keeping at least 23 players, including injured defenceman Brent Seabrook.

The nine sure things are forwards Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Jeremy Colliton, Sidney Crosby, Nigel Dawes, Ryan Getzlaf and Michael Richards, plus defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Shea Weber.

AXE-MAN: Cutting players -- any head coach will tell you it's the worst part of the job.

Telling a player he can't play for his country would only make it harder, you'd presume.

"You tell a 16-year-old kid they're not good enough to play for your hockey club in Red Deer, they're pretty devastated, too," Sutter, who runs the WHL's Rebels, said yesterday. "These guys are 19 years of age now, and yeah it is higher, as far as you're playing for your country. But they're more mature, more grown up. It's tough to compare the two."

DYNAMIC DUO: Sounds like the forward combination of Crosby and Bergeron is here to stay.

"They've got a little bit of chemistry there, and that's what I was hoping for," Sutter said. "I know Sidney really likes playing with him."


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