Canada relishes lack of respect

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Team Canada defenceman Luc Bourdon is in no hurry to return to the Val d'Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

His club team is in a slump but he's right where he wanted to be back in October. After an impressive training camp with Vancouver, the Canucks sent their first round draft pick back to major junior for more seasoning just three days before the Oct. 5 season opener.

Bourdon, an 18-year-old native of Lameque, N.B., now has a chance to be at General Motors Place on Jan. 5 in the red and white of Team Canada. A gold medal is his publicly stated goal, but he privately wants to use the tournament to show Canucks' general manager Dave Nonis why he belongs with the big club.

"I played pretty well in the first camp and came back to Vancouver with the Canucks, it went well," said Bourdon. "The first thing is we're representing Canada and the logo on the front of the jersey, not your name."

Canada, the defending world junior champion, opens the tournament Monday at the Pacific Coliseum against Finland. Face-off is 4 p.m. The team's only real test of the opening round is against its group A rival, the U.S., on Dec. 31. Canada also meets Switzerland on Dec. 28 and Norway on Dec. 29 and avoids Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden until the medal round. Any of the first three group B teams is capable of beating Canada's inexperienced squad.

"They're going to be tremendous hockey teams," said Blair Mackasey, Canada's director of player personnel. "We only have to beat them once, we don't have to beat them in a four-out-of-seven."

Goaltending by Justin Pogge, a Calgary Hitman who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs this week, and the leadership of captain Kyle Chipchura and defensive general Cam Barker will decide whether Canada ends up on the podium. Mackasey said it'll have to be a group effort from start to finish.

"We don't have the profile names of the (Sidney) Crosbys and (Patrice) Bergerons and (Dion) Phaneufs. When it comes down to it we're going to need all 22 players every night," Mackasey said.


Videos

Photos