Duo out of first exhibition
TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
CALGARY - As expected and projected, no Huberdeau and no Howden.
Canada’s two injured players did not improve to the point where Don Hay could play them Monday in the world junior’s first pre-tournament game against Finland.
While Jonathan Huberdeau, the No. 3 pick in the NHL entry draft by the Florida Panthers, is now taking full practices with the team and looks ready to play, Hay decided to give the Saint John Sea Dog a game in the press box.
“He’s getting close. We’re just going to stick with the plan with him,” said Hay, who projected Huberdeau, out for a month and a half with a broken foot, to get in games against Switzerland Thursday in Red Deer and Sweden Friday in Edmonton.
Quinten Howden, one of four players with the Canadian team that gassed a 3-0 lead to lose 5-3 to Russia in last year’s gold medal game in Baffalo, has not recovered from his concussion as quickly as hoped.
Howden was injured during selection camp in a hit to the head by Brett Connolly of the Anaheim Ducks, which probably would have drawn a suspension in the NHL. Canadian team officials refused to make Howden available to media Monday at the morning skate in Banff.
“Howden is close,” insisted Hay.
“He skated hard today and we’ll skate him hard again Tuesday when we get back to Banff. Hopefully he’ll be able to participate in a full practice Wednesday.”
Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones