Hall's junior no-show 'not an issue'

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are both hoping to be playing in the National Hockey League next December.

Hall's goal is to make the Edmonton Oilers, the team that picked him first overall in the 2010 draft, not return for a third season of junior hockey.

The same can be said for Seguin, picked second by the Boston Bruins.

But, the fact remains, only one of the two decided to take part in the Canadian junior team's four-day development camp in St. John's, Nfld.

Seguin skated with the other invited players, including 10 taken in the first round in June, in the first on-ice session of the summer camp Wednesday at Mile One Centre while Hall, a veteran of last year's team, remained at home. Hall decided not to attend the camp, making him ineligible to play for Canada a second time even if the Oilers send him back to the Windsor Spitfires before the world junior tournament in Buffalo.

Don't expect Team Canada coach Dave Cameron to start bashing Hall over his decision to skip camp, though.

"It's not even an issue," Cameron said. "There's certainly no talk around here about it. There were originally 40 players picked to be here. There are probably another 40 players sitting at home who feel they deserve to be here.

"I don't think the program relies on any individuals. It is a great opportunity for some guys."

Even though there has been plenty of chatter about Hall opting out, Cameron is right about one thing ­ this camp is a fantastic chance for some players to prove they belong on the list of candidates for the Canadian team.

Owen Sound Attack forward Joey Hishon, picked 17th overall by the Colorado Avalanche, plus defencemen Brock Beukeboom of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Nathan Beaulieu of the Saint John Sea Dogs got late invitations to the camp when three spots opened up. Hall and defenceman Ryan Ellis pulled out ­ Ellis remains eligible to play in the WJC because he's a two-time vet ­ and blueliner Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefs was shelved due to mononucleosis.

Those three aren't the only ones hoping to take advantage of the chance, though. There are 39 others eager to make a good first impression and earn invitations to the selection camp in December.

"They're not going to make the team here," Cameron said. "It gives the kids that are here the first kick at the cat. That's probably the biggest advantage. I'm still trying to sort out who's who.

"There's some familiarity with the OHL kids but I'm trying to get a handle on the kids from the Western league and the Quebec league."

After two days of practices, the camp will wrap up with games Friday and Saturday. By then Cameron expects all the players to have shaken off the summer rust, which was evident Wednesday.

"It was a busy day for the kids," Cameron said of Day 1. "It was a lot of non-hockey stuff. We were a little sloppy but everything considered, it was fine. The first couple of days you expect that. And you factor in that it's a summer camp and there is some pressure."


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