Up, down, all around

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- He's been up. He's been down.

He's been in. He's been out.

He's been benched.

He's come through when it counts.

It's been an interesting world junior for Andrew Cogliano, the Edmonton Oilers first round pick in last year's draft.

However this turns out, the native of Vaughn, Ont., who plays for the University of Michigan, says he's going to leave here a better player than he came.

Coach Brent Sutter, who benched the forward who has only two assists to show for the tournament, admits Cogliano has been a study.

FINDING HIS WAY THROUGH IT

"He's still trying to find his way through this,'' said Sutter, who sat him for the second period against Switzerland for an irresponsible giveaway and playing on the periphery.

"He's a skater. He has great speed. Against the U.S. we challenged him to shut a player down and he did,'' he said of T.J. Oshie. "He had his best game of the tournament.''

Cogliano said he learned a lot from Sutter, who put him on the pine for a period.

"He brought me down to reality,'' he said.

"He challenged me to do as much as I can out there. I had a good start against Finland, but since the Swiss game, it's been an uphill battle.

"To be put against Oshie, who has the same speed, and even against Phil Kessel's line a couple of times, was a good thing for me.''

Canada needs him now. The Oilers will. Wait a while.

Cogliano is in no hurry to get to the NHL.

A FULL FOUR YEARS

He plans to play the full four years at Michigan.

"I don't think I'm going to change my mind. I'll weigh my options along the way, but the most important thing is to get my education and be ready to go to the NHL when the time comes.''

Probably nobody on the property knows the kid better than TSN analyst Bob McKenzie, whose son played with Cogliano on the St. Michael's team, where he led the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League in scoring last year with 36 goals and 102 points in 49 games.

"He's a great kid who comes from a great family who is smart enough not to go to the NHL too early. He won't go before it's time. I think he'll go when he's ready,'' said McKenzie.

"Everybody notices his speed. But the really under-rated part of his game is his vision and the plays he makes seeing people on the ice. He has world-class speed and world-class vision. He has good character, good work habits and all the intangibles.''

Cogliano, who won gold for Canada in the 2004 U-18 Worlds in the Czech Republic, says this experience is invaluable.

"To compete in high-level, high-energy games and feel like other players are not really playing at a higher level than me, yet to realize how much more I have to improve to be a better player has been great for me. And the whole experience of playing for Canada on a team like this has been just amazing.''

And he knows he's going to get a chance to do this again next year in Sweden as a much more mature player.


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