Attitude adjustment

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from a world junior tournament where organizers were happy to see a hockey squad within hailing distance of a Canadian team that looks unbeatable. Although it would have been nice if the Czech Republic looked like it was trying to win instead of just keeping it close.

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RINK RAP: No scout will doubt the talent American forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Robbie Schremp possesses. Just his attitude. Schremp was a last-minute addition and has maintained a frosty relationship with U.S. coach Scott Sandelin, despite his obvious offensive talent. Those in Schremp's corner say the teen is uncertain of his role and has been slighted by the team from Day 1 but one scout said of the 25th overall pick: "I may not be a genius but there's no way the 20 or how many others that passed on him are all dumb." That pick may be a boon for the Oil but a few people will be surprised if it happens ... I want to be measured by the guy who says Chris Bourque, yes the offspring of Hall-of-Fame defenceman Ray Bourque, is 5 ft. 9 in. With that measuring stick, I'm closing in on 9 ft.

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ICE CHIPS: While Finland wasn't expected to make waves, it may be the most disappointing team at the tournament. Aside from the third-period, four-goal outburst that won their meeting with Sweden, the Finns look disorganized and uninspired. "They remind me of Canada's (eighth-place) team of 1998," said one insider ... Yes, everything you hear about the palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena is true, it's that beautiful. Now, can the fine folks of Grand Forks -- obviously very proud of their rink -- stop asking if we think it's great. It's like Canadians who say to their American cousins, "What do you think of our country? It's nice, isn't it?" ... Kudos to the rink's DJ, though, for not once playing Cotton-Eyed Joe and cranking up plenty of Tragically Hip ... Only two players of Canada's team are eligible to play at next year's tourney in Vancouver, departed defenceman Cam Barker (mononucleosis) and Sidney Crosby. Don't expect to see Crosby there, with or without a lockout.

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PROUD PARENTS: Every parent of every young man playing at the world juniors has made huge sacrifices for their child over the years, be it time or money. Marcel and Janette Wick went through quite the experience to personally watch their son, Roman Wick, play for Switzerland.

The Wicks, who live in Zurich, travelled 15 hours to reach Winnipeg on Christmas Day and awoke the next morning to find they couldn't get a rental car to drive to Grand Forks.

Instead, they hired a cab -- were going to pay $275 for the trip -- but were stopped at the border because the cabbie couldn't cross.

A Greyhound bus driver stopped at the border and drove them the rest of the way.

Wick, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels, scored the first goal in his team's first game.

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PARTING GIFTS: A pox on the hotel owners in Grand Forks who really began to gouge potential customers when the border to Canada closed due to the snow. One couple, related to a media member from Winnipeg, was asked to pay $250 for one night in a hotel room that regularly goes for $40. Karma will get you ... Hockey Canada is holding an on-line auction for its foundation and tsunami relief efforts in South Asia. The auction (hockeycana da.ca), which includes a variety of game-worn equipment, closes Jan. 9.


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