February 7, 2006
Canucks waiting on Duck
Team faces some tough decisions
BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

TURIN -- Team Canada could have a new face -- or two -- by the time it arrives in Italy next week.

With the start of the Olympic tournament eight days away, Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky, president Bob Nicholson and the staff were huddled last night trying to make final roster decisions.

Nicholson told Sun Media that Canada will know by tomorrow whether Anaheim Mighty Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer is going to make the trip to Turin or not.

Not only are they concerned about Niedermayer's knee, but their is further concern regarding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vinny Lecavalier missing a game on the weekend with what's being described as an "upper-body injury." He did return last night against the New York Islanders and Tampa officials indicated he will not miss the Olympics.

"We're trying to get an update on where everybody is at right now. Everybody was talking two or three weeks ago about the health of our team, but back then it didn't mean much because we had a lot of time," Nicholson said. "Now, if we lose a guy we're going to have to make a snap decision right away and it's really going to mean some difficult decisions."

Canada will name a replacement for the injured Ed Jovanovski today. Nicholson said the staff was planning a call last night to pick from a group of Calgary Flames' Dion Phaneuf, Florida Panthers' Jay Bouwmeester, San Jose Sharks' Scott Hannan, Tampa's Dan Boyle and Ottawa Senators' Chris Phillips as an addition to the taxi squad.

"We'll make that decision in the next 24 hours," Nicholson said.

But, it might not stop there on the blue line. Niedermayer had a second MRI on his injured knee which didn't show much difference than the first. He will meet with Nicholson tonight following Anaheim's game in Calgary and Canada should have a good idea whether he's going to play or opt to have surgery.

"I know it's tough for him. I get the feeling, just from talking to him, that he wants to play and I don't think he'd be calling us updating us on the situation as much as he is if he didn't want to play," Nicholson said.

"The second MRI showed swelling in the area and that's typical with the kind of problem that he has, but he has played 25-to-30 minutes a night for Anaheim. We've told him that we want to have him, but we want him to do what's best for Scott Niedermayer,"