'95 class relates to '05 team

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Ryan Smyth and Darcy Tucker remember fondly the experience of being part of a Canadian junior team to be positively affected by an NHL lockout and they've noticed similarities in this year's club. Smyth and Tucker played for Canada at the 1995 world junior championship in Alberta, where it finished 7-0 and won a gold medal. Comparisons have been drawn between this winter's team and that one since many of the participants for Canada would have been in the NHL had no lockout existed.

"I see a lot of similarities with our team because this one has the same discipline," Smyth, the Oilers forward, said yesterday from his home in Edmonton. "There were three things that (coach) Don Hay stressed to us then -- discipline, dedication and desire. It was special because with the lockout then, you had superstars coming to play with the younger guys. But everyone felt welcome."

Ten years ago, the lockout ended in mid-January, and by the finish of the 48-game season, eight Canadians who played in the world juniors --Smyth, Jason Allison, Alexandre Daigle, Eric Daze, Shean Donovan, Jeff Friesen, Todd Harvey and goalie Jamie Storr -- had played at least one NHL game.

This year, Jeff Carter and Michael Richards would have at least began with the Philadelphia Flyers; Patrice Bergeron would have been enjoying his sophomore season with the Boston Bruins; defenceman Dion Phaneuf likely would have been with the Calgary Flames; Ryan Getzlaf might have started with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks; and Anthony Stewart would have had a shot with the Florida Panthers. There are others who would have had an NHL taste as well.

There is one difference in Tucker's mind between the two teams. In one game at the 1995 tournament, a 7-5 win against the Czech Republic, Canada was losing 5-4 entering the third period.

"Unlike this team, we went through some adversity," the Maple Leafs' Tucker said from his Toronto home. "We were losing to the Czechs but came back to win. There has not been any of that this year."

Neither Tucker nor Smyth is holding his breath regarding a resolution to the lockout this time.

"I would love to get a phone call (that indicates the lockout is over), but I don't know," Tucker said. "It's a sad time to be a player right now."

Said Smyth:"I do see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it's slim. The sides have to get talking again."


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