Itching to get cracking

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Kris Draper would have liked to have been preparing for the NHL playoffs this week with the Detroit Red Wings, but the alternative is not such a bad thing.

In fact, given the frustration the NHL lockout has caused since it began in September, Draper can't wait for Team Canada's training camp for the 2005 world championship to begin tomorrow in Calgary.

"It has been a tough year for everybody, but it's going to be fun in the next month or so to get into some competition and play on a world-class team," Draper, a Toronto native, said.

"There are a lot of us who are well-rested (because of the lockout) and there are no nagging injuries. That's something that never happens (at this time of year)."

Hockey Canada yesterday officially named the 22-player roster, and it includes 15 members of the club that won gold in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Among the integral returnees from that team who will try to bring a third consecutive title from the worlds are goalie Martin Brodeur, forwards Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Ryan Smyth and defencemen Ed Jovanovski, Wade Redden and Robyn Regehr.

Among those who were not named for various reasons include Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards.

New faces include Mike Fisher, Rick Nash, Marty Turco and Sheldon Souray.

Canada will have a pair of exhibition games against the U.S. (in Halifax on April 20 and Quebec City on April 22) before leaving for Europe, where it will play two more exhibition games.

Canada begins the tournament in Austria on April 30 against Latvia. The championship game is on May 15.

ONE SPOT LEFT

In an intriguing move, Hockey Canada left one roster spot open, one that will be filled prior to the end of the month by a forward.

General manager Steve Tambellini, during a conference call, was asked specifically about Todd Bertuzzi.

The latter has not been reinstated by the NHL since he was suspended more than a year ago for his attack on Steve Moore during a game between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche, and such an event does not seem forthcoming.

"If Todd was available, he should be a candidate," Tambellini said.

"At the moment, Todd has not been reinstated and is unavailable. We are monitoring the situation. I would like to (fill the last spot) sooner rather than later."

Even without some of the country's top players -- something other nations also have to contend with at the tournament -- coach Marc Habscheid promises the style of hockey Canadians have come to expect.

"We have the factor of old-time Canadian hockey, which is getting after people with the forecheck and playing a high-tempo game," Habscheid said.

"These guys are all high-end pros and we want them to be smart as well."

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TEAM CANADA

GOAL

Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco.

DEFENCE

Dan Boyle, Scott Hannan, Ed Jovanovski, Chris Phillips, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr, Sheldon Souray.

FORWARDS

Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Mike Fisher, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Kirk Maltby, Patrick Marleau, Brendan Morrison, Brenden Morrow, Rick Nash, Ryan Smyth, Joe Thornton.

BRASS

GM: Steve Tambellini,

Assistant GM: Ken Holland

Head coach: Marc Habscheid

Asst coaches: Tom Renney, Craig MacTavish.


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