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Sports Editorial: Nurse left off Team Canada selection camp roster

Tuesday, December 03, 2013   by: Brad Coccimiglio

It’s something that’s been on the minds of hockey fans since the announcement.

Monday saw Hockey Canada announce the 25 players that will attend a selection camp beginning on Dec. 12 in Etobicoke, Ont.

The National Junior Team will take 22 of the 25 players to Malmo, Sweden for the 2014 World Junior Championships, which opens on Boxing Day when Team Canada faces Germany.

Monday’s announcement basically came as a roster announcement with so few players invited to the camp.

In Sault Ste. Marie hockey circles, many fans have argued that Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse should have been one of the eight defenceman attending the camp.

Seen primarily as a tournament made up of 19-year-old players, Nurse’s remaining year of eligibility likely plays a small role in the so-called snub. The 18-year-old blueliner has a year of eligibility remaining for the tournament.

With just eight defencemen invited to the camp and one being cut prior to the tournament, it’s a tough group to crack. Consider the fact that Minnesota Wild defenceman Mathew Dumba has been released to participate. Others included among the eight blueliners were three other first round NHL draft picks including Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), and Josh Morrisey of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL). Reinhart was selected fourth overall in 2012 by the New York Islanders while Pouliot was selected eighth, also in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Morrisey was selected six picks after Nurse in the 2013 draft by the Winnipeg Jets.

The recently completed Subway Super Series, which featured teams made up of players from each of the three Canadian Hockey League member leagues, plays a role in players selected for the upcoming camp as well. Hockey Canada officials were in attendance at all six games, evaluating players in the process. The group labeled the eight selected as the eight best defencemen eligible to suit up for Team Canada.

Hockey Canada chief scout Ryan Jankowski has gone on the record saying that the omission of Nurse was a tough decision but one made based on the feeling that Nurse has tried to do too much on the ice this season. Nurse’s play in the Super Series echoed the sentiment.

“It was the same thing,” Jankowski told NHL.com of Nurse’s play in the Super Series. “He didn’t show an ability to simplify his game.”

Had Hockey Canada gone with the traditional selection camp numbers, which is usually in the 35 to 40 player range, Nurse is among the defencemen in camp, without a doubt.

Also left off the selection camp roster was Greyhounds goaltender Matt Murray. Among the OHL leaders in goals against average, wins and save percentage among other stats, Murray also suited up in the Subway Super Series but was left off the Canadian roster in favour of Jake Paterson of the Saginaw Spirit and Zachary Fucale of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads.

Paterson was the third goalie for Team Canada at the event last winter while Fucale backstopped the Mooseheads to a Memorial Cup title last season and has been solid again this season for Halifax.

Consider some of the other so-called big names that weren’t included in the group as well. At the top of the list is London Knights forward Max Domi as well as goaltender Eric Comrie of the Western League’s Tri-City Americans. Every year players are not invited to camp that leads to major discussion among fans and media.

The group as a whole is deep and it’s always a tough decision who to invite and who to leave off when the selection camp roster is named. When the group is named, much of the focus winds up being on who was left off the list as opposed to who is on it.

Photo: Kenneth Armstrong for SooToday.com

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NB113 12/3/2013 10:50:07 PM Report

Don't forget about Chris Bigras (Owen Sound Attack). This guy should really help with his 3 goals, 7 assists and -5 on the +/-. What a joke. Each year it seems to get worse on the selections and each year Canada wonders why they get their a## kicked on the podium.
boogie 12/3/2013 11:06:36 PM Report

Definition of Editorial - article expressing editor's OPINION on a topical issue.

C'mon Brad, what's your opinion?? You've simply told us news that's already been reported elsewhere. Should Murray and/or Nurse been named to the team?
JustMe1234567 12/3/2013 11:54:57 PM Report

He gave his opinion. There was a smaller number in the pool and Nurse still has a chance next time. So not really that big of a deal is what I took from what Brad said.
jim 12/4/2013 7:58:31 AM Report

They'll get their ass kicked anyway. Canadian hockey is now about 6'4 230 lbs and semi talented. Other countries still focus on talent and it will show in the series.
D_Laity 12/4/2013 8:46:38 AM Report

Building a team isn't about taking the top scoring forwards and the top scoring defense, it's about balance.

Over the last few years we have went heavy goal scoring and had no success. The other big countries have shown that if we want to try and run and gun with them that they can compete and beat us.

This year the club is being built more balanced, big shut down defense, 3 scoring lines and a shutdown fourth line.

I hear a lot of criticize over Gauthier being selected when there are guys with 3 times the points. Gauthier has high hockey IQ and is one of the best shutdown centres in hockey. Great addition.

Same with Nurse, he is an amazing talent, but he is not a shutdown dman. His game is all over the ice, which can be rewarding, but can at times be costly. The crew they have selected are all big, shutdown style players. Except for Morrissey, who is likely the best puck moving dman outside Morgan Reilly and he plays a very controlled game.

This team is one of the more properly balanced teams in many years in my opinion. How about we cheer for Canada and let this play out before we judge.
Tazzer77 12/4/2013 8:57:48 AM Report

I am going to have to agree with D_laity, your comments were well spoken. Nurse is a great player and I think he will get his shot next year, I am going to say that his name was definitely mentioned and incorporated in the final d-man selections. As for Murray there are just too many little holes in his game play, to be in the mix.

Canada will be fine, just like always, Everyone will make predictions and over analyze but it will come down to chemistry and which ever team makes the fewest mistakes wins. My family will be cheering on team Canada!
littlebutton 12/4/2013 9:17:33 AM Report

Nurse was left off the roster because he is a no-talent, panty dragging bum...
old-cat33 12/4/2013 9:41:20 AM Report

I don't think Nurse has to worry about that he is going to be a Millionaire in a few more years!!
HAMMER 12/4/2013 10:53:19 AM Report

Love Nurse...but I'm sure that his 49 Penalty minutes....which leads the team....didn't help his cause either. I love it. It means the Greyhounds don't lose him for that stretch.
S.M.A.R.T. 12/4/2013 1:16:22 PM Report

littlebutton.....are you off your meds again or is it personal? A little too hostile toward Nurse. He clearly was on Team Canada's radar screen and as such he cannot be nearly as lacking as you have described. And oh yeah. I've seen him play on numerous occasions and I can honestly tell you that you are WRONG!
littlebutton 12/4/2013 5:26:40 PM Report

S.M.A.R.T. I took my meds today, thanks for asking and it definitely isn't personal. All Im saying is he doesn't have what it takes or he would be on the roster. His hockey career is kinda like beating a dead horse, it will pass a bit of time but at the end of the day it isn't going to pay the bills.
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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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