Sidekick status no problem for MacLean

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Sometimes it's tough being The Wingman.

Robin just doesn't get the same kind of respect when he's standing next to Batman.

It's the same thing on the ice.

All eyes are on Canadian phenom John Tavares.

He's the defending CHL player of the year. He's the nation's leading scorer.

And he's the most-talked about 'Next One' since Sid the Kid was ripping up the junior circuit with the Rimouski Oceanic.

But his linemate, Brett MacLean, is having a pretty decent season, too.

MacLean leads the country with 35 goals -- 11 more than Tavares -- but said he can't go out of his comfort zone in an attempt to attract the spotlight at Canada's world junior selection camp.

"I just have to go out there and play simple, show them I can play defensively and take care of my own end," said the Phoenix Coyotes draft pick, who hopes to celebrate his 19th birthday in the Czech Republic on Christmas Eve.

"I don't have to do anything spectacular.

"I've had a pretty good year so far, and the stats speak for themselves."

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

It was often said a fire hydrant could score 20 goals playing on a line with superstar Wayne Gretzky.

But playing in the Great One's shadow didn't make Jari Kurri any less of a star.

The year Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, the Finn scored 102 points.

Chances are MacLean, too, would be just fine on his own.

But, even now, he won't get the chance to fly solo.

Not that he's upset about playing on a trio with his Oshawa Generals linemate and Kingston Frontenacs star Cory Emmerton at camp.

"It's definitely good for me to be here and have someone like that on my line," said MacLean, who has never represented Canada at any level of hockey.

"It gives you a little more comfort because we know where each other (are) out there.

"So instead of spending the first couple of days trying to build chemistry, we already have it."

That chemistry should lead to numerous scoring chances for the line during the course of the selection camp.

"I just want to play solid," MacLean said.

"I can't really sit here and say 'I need to score this many goals or get this many points to make an impact.'

"I just need to play well, work hard and show them what I can do, and hopefully things will fall into place."


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