Gagner in Jr. limbo

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Sam Gagner is living the dream.

He's playing in the National Hockey League.

Yet going to play in the World Junior Championships would be an honour for the Edmonton Oilers rookie. But it's not his decision to make.

"Obviously it's not up to me, but whatever decision is made, I'll be happy with it either way," Gagner said.

BONDED WITH TEAM

"It's a funny thing. I'd love to be playing for Team Canada. I love playing for my country. I have a lot of pride in my country and I have a lot of friends on the team that I'd like to help win a gold medal with.

"But at the same time, I love playing in the NHL, I feel that I bonded with my teammates here and missing three weeks of the NHL season is a long time.

"But either way, I'll be happy with whatever decision is made."

The Oilers have until Dec. 10th to decide if Gagner will join Team Canada for the tournament in the Czech Republic.

He was on the squad that won gold last year and was outstanding in the Canada, Russia challenge this September.

"I think that he's established himself as an NHL player right now," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "So why send an NHL player back to play with juniors? He's a smart player and I think - I won't speak for the organization, we haven't had that discussion - based on the way he's played we like where he is right now."

Heading into last night's game against the Los Angeles Kings, Gagner had two goals and nine assists in 26 games.

IMPORTANT COG

He's suited up in all but one game for the Oilers this season and is an important part of the lineup.

"I'm getting an opportunity to play here," Gagner said. "I'm just trying to run with that opportunity here.

"A couple of my friends that have been invited to camp have asked me about it and they're trying to get a read on what's going to happen.

"But it's not up to me and I'm kind of glad it's not up to me and I don't have to make that decision."


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