Glass gets a break

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The starting goalie receives a vote of confidence, a returning vet gets a wakeup call and a Winnipegger wonders when he's going to break out. Day 2 of the World Junior Hockey Championship might not have had much action on the ice, but that doesn't mean there weren't some head games being played off it.

Starting with Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter doing his best to keep goaltender Jeff Glass's head clear by naming Glass his starter against the Swedes here this afternoon.

That became a matter for debate when Glass didn't exactly look unbreakable in Canada's opener, a 7-3 romp over Slovakia Christmas Day.

"He played OK," Sutter said yesterday, at the same time confirming he'd give the Calgary product a second chance to take the ball and run with it.

That's the perfect call, because you don't want to ruin the guy's confidence this early by taking him out.

HOTTEST HAND

This way, Sutter can play Winnipeg's Rejean Beauchemin against Germany tomorrow, then go with the hottest hand after that.

It appears winger Anthony Stewart, though, won't be so lucky to get a second chance.

The Scarborough native showed up at practice yesterday to find he'd been demoted, a startling development only if you look back to last year, when Stewart tied for the team scoring lead with 11 points.

This year, though, he's been so-so, right from the selection camp in Winnipeg to Saturday's tournament debut.

"I haven't been producing," Stewart acknowledged. "It's my job to start producing. If I'm not going and there's somebody that's doing better than me, that's how it should be."

So Stewart likely won't play with captain Michael Richards of Kenora and Winnipeg's Nigel Dawes today, breaking up the combination that led Canada in Helsinki a year ago.

The move caught Richards and Dawes by surprise.

"A little bit of a shock," is how Richards described it. "I guess ... we haven't done anything for a couple of games now, so we're just trying to get a different spark on our line."

Dawes says he didn't find out until he noticed Jeremy Colliton was his new running mate yesterday.

"We didn't talk about it at all or have a meeting or anything," Dawes said. "We just kind of showed up to the rink and our jerseys were switched around."

This isn't a hasty move by Sutter, though.

Aside from a goal by Richards against the Finns in a pre-tournament game in Winnipeg, this threesome has been held off the scoresheet.

When it was the only line not to score against Slovakia, the coach had seen enough. History only takes you so far.

"We came in with really high expectations from last year," Richards said. "And this year it hasn't really clicked too much."

Which brings us to Dawes.

Canada's leading sniper in Helsinki, with six goals, the 5-foot-8 speedster didn't score in the pre-tournament games against Finland or Switzerland.

So when he came up empty on Christmas Day, he officially entered a slump.

Yes, it's still early. But the WJHC isn't patient. After today, there are only two games left in the round-robin, you know.

"You've just to stay even keel," Dawes said. "I've just got to keep plugging away and eventually they'll start coming."

Either that, or he could be the next guy seeing his ice time cut back.

You can bet Sutter will continue shuffling bodies here, tweaking combinations there, until something clicks on all four lines.

That's not too much to ask, either. This is supposed to be one of the deepest Canadian junior teams in years, remember?


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