SUN Hockey Pool

Crosby on Canada's world list

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

The cancellation of the NHL season clears the way for Canada to have a star-studded roster for the 2005 world hockey championship this spring and there's one particular youngster who might be among them.

There remains plenty to be determined before the world championship gets underway on April 30, but Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said phenom Sidney Crosby's name undoubtedly will arise in staff meetings.

"Will we talk about him? Yes," Nicholson said. "But we expect him to still be playing when we decide on our roster."

Crosby, 17, leads the Canadian Hockey League in scoring with 129 points in 52 games and his Rimouski Oceanic are in first place in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, so it's probable he will be in the QMJHL playoffs when Canada begins training camp in mid-April, probably in Calgary.

A number of questions surround Canada's entry. A management/coaching staff should be assembled by early next month, and although Nicholson confirmed that Marc Habscheid has a clause in his contract that he would be the head coach, Habscheid has indicated he would gladly step aside if a higher-profile candidate was brought in. Habscheid still would be part of the staff. Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who coached Canada to a World Cup title last September and a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, remains on Canada's short list. Hockey Canada would like Wayne Gretzky to head the management team again.

"I've talked to Wayne already and hopefully we will have an answer in the next seven-10 days," Nicholson said.

Mario Lemieux remains unsure about his participation.

"It would be very difficult for any of us who haven't played this year to play in that tournament," Lemieux told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But when it gets close, I'll be able to make a better decision."

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Eric Brewer, who was on the World Cup and Salt Lake teams, refused to look ahead.

"If that is anybody's focus, they should hand in their skates," Brewer said. "We have more relevant things to worry about."


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