Juniors hit the ice

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET

GIMLI -- The atmosphere was more relaxed, but this was not meant to be a vacation for Canada's world junior hockey team. After being given Thursday off by head coach Brent Sutter, it was back to business with a pair of practices at the Gimli Recreation Centre that featured work on systems and some barking from the bench boss.

"Every day is an important day and when guys step on the ice, you're expected to do things right," said Sutter. "You can't cheat."

Sutter and several Canadian players said that being in the rural town was a nice break after being under the heat lamp for the first five days of camp.

Team Canada hits the ice one final time in Gimli this morning before returning to Winnipeg to prepare for a pair of exhibition games at the MTS Centre (Finland on Monday and Switzerland on Wednesday.

The games will be broadcast live on TSN, 7:30 p.m., with Gord Miller handling the play-by-play and Pierre McGuire providing colour commentary.

There were no official team bonding sessions planned for the stay in Gimli but Team Canada's contingent did have a special potluck Christmas dinner last night at the home of former NHLer Ted Irvine.

INJURY UPDATE: Ailing blue-liner Brent Seabrook made a surprise appearance on the ice late yesterday afternoon after Team Canada finished a second workout.

Seabrook, wearing skates, gloves, a helmet and a track suit, spent roughly 15 minutes skating up and down the ice with team physician Dr. Ian Auld, passing the puck back-and-forth.

Sutter said an MRI on Seabrook's shoulder, taken Thursday, didn't reveal much and that there would be an update on Monday.

STAYING PUT: Yesterday's second practice was pushed up a couple of hours to accommodate the team dinner, but one media member wondered if it was so Sutter could make it to Brandon to watch his Red Deer Rebels face the Wheat Kings at the Keystone Centre.

"I'm staying here with the guys, they're doing fine," said Sutter, who has been in contact with the Red Deer coaching staff to see how things are going.

A LITTLE TRIM: Although there was no official edict handed down from the top, several players were sporting new haircuts yesterday.

Among the most noticeable were the trimmed locks of Corey Perry, Danny Syvret, Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby and Kenora's Mike Richards.

"It was just getting a little long," said Crosby.


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