Steve Tambellini is proving to be an equal opportunity employer.
Team Canada's general manager has contacted Todd Bertuzzi about his availibility for the world championship next month. Bertuzzi, the Vancouver Canucks power winger, remains suspended indefinitely by the National Hockey League for the March 8, 2004 attack that injured Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche.
"Right now, we're in the same situation with Todd that we were at before the World Cup," Tambellini told the Vancouver Province.
"What I want to do is touch base with Todd's agent (Pat Morris) and confirm with (NHL executives) Bill Daly and Gary Bettman the fact that we can hopefully get something done toward reinstatement. That would then allow Todd to become a legitimate candidate for a team like this. Todd should be considered, if he is eligible."
Morris could not be reached for comment. In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun last night, Daly said the issue is a matter for the International Ice Hockey Federation to rule upon.
News has leaked that Tambellini has invited goaltender Roberto Luongo, defencemen Robyn Regehr, Ed Jovanovski, Scott Hannan and Wade Redden and forward Ryan Smyth to play for Team Canada at the April 30-May 15 tournament in Vienna, Austria.
Smyth will go, as long as there are no complications with the expected birth of his wife's first child, due April 12.
Brad Richards is under consideration, but is injured.
Among those players knocking at Tambellini's door and expected to be taken are goaltender Martin Brodeur, defenceman Chris Philips and forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Dany Heatley.
Wayne Gretzky has taken an interest in John Tavares, the 14-year-old Toronto Marlboros minor midget who was considered good enough for the Ontario Hockey League draft until it was decided yesterday not to lower the draft age.
"I only played one year of junior, but every situation is different and I've never seen him," Gretzky said yesterday. "I can't imagine playing five years for one (junior) team. There's no race to the finish line. Maybe two years in junior A or B (would be better)."
Among the runners-up to Marlies amid 6,000 suggestions for the Leafs' new American Hockey League farm team nickname were the Toronto Towers. It was rejected in part because of the 9/11 link.