January 20, 2006
Team Canada D on mend
Players returning from injury
LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

Vancouver Canucks' Ed Jovanovski plans to return soon from a strained groin, Adam Foote is back in the Columbus Blue Jackets' lineup and so Rob Blake feels much better about the state of Team Canada's defence heading into the Olympics.

"It's in the back of your mind that everyone wants to stay healthy (in the remaining NHL games)," Blake said yesterday, as the Colorado Avalanche player was featured on a National Hockey League conference call. "Once it gets closer, you'll see guys play harder."

"We had the same (injury) problem in the World Cup. But there are still 10 or 11 games to go. "It's good to see Foote back (from hip problems) and you hope Bryan can heel in time."

JOVANOVSKI SKIPS MRI

Jovanovski decided to skip the need for an MRI and is being listed as day-to-day with the team. But much like Toronto's McCabe, a Canadian taxi-squader who is rehabbing a small groin tear, Jovanovski has been on the shelf longer than anticipated. He lists himself at present at "about 75%."

Colorado has as many as 11 players scattered among eight countries going to Turin with next month.

"We're expected to win gold and that pressure is there again," Blake said. "You've got to look at four or five of the teams involved. Look at Ilya Kovalchuk (and the Russians), the Swedes with Peter Forsbeg and (Nicklas) Lidstrom and the Czechs are very, very tough."

Blake thinks Canada benefitted from the road to victory in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

"We were tied 1-1 against the Swedes in the first game, we fell apart and everyone thought we were done," Blake recalled. "The lesson is that over the amount of games, you just have to be better at the end."