Been there, won that

MIKE BELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 PM ET

They say you can't put a price on experience.

That said, this year's Team Canada at the world juniors tournament in Sweden is as rich with that intangible as it is wealthy with talent.

Eleven players who earned gold with the squad last January in Vancouver are returning with the 2007 edition of the team -- that's exactly one half of the Canuck roster, including five out of the seven all-important blueliners.

"With the returning players it certainly gives us a great foundation for our team," said head coach Craig Hartsburg, who competed for Canada at the 1978 world junior tourney and was one of Brent Sutter's assistant coaches with Canada's 2006 gold medal-winning squad.

Team Canada is built to succeed now, not later.

The person chosen to captain the squad at the completion of the camp was returning defenceman Kristopher Letang, while the quartet of revolving alternate captains -- fellow d-man Marc Staal and forwards Steve Downie, Tom Pyatt and Jonathan Toews -- are also 2006 gold winners.

Letang -- who played seven games this year with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being returned to his QMJHL home club Foreurs de Val d'or -- thinks his role as Captain Canuck will be less involved due to the veteran makeup.

"I think the dressing room is not a major part of it," the 19-year-old said. "It's on the ice I have to lead by example and be there for every guy every night.

"There are so many leaders (on the team) so in the room it's going to be that everyone knows their jobs."

According to Staal, Hartsburg let the veterans know prior to the team's first game, Boxing Day versus host country Sweden, job No. 1 would be to work on incorporating the new guys into the chemistry of the team and getting everyone on the same page.

"He asked us to be leaders on the club and help pull our team together as quick as we can and be the best team we can be," said Staal, the 6-ft., 4-in. captain of the OHL Sudbury Wolves.

"A lot of that's on our shoulders but at the same time the whole team's got to work hard and try and improve every day."

Making things more difficult is the fact this year's junior championship is taking place overseas. Canada has not won the tournament on European ice in a decade.


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