Oilers duo ‘on notice’
Fuzzy cheeks and brief NHL resumes or not, rookies Sam Gagner andAndrew Cogliano of the Edmonton Oilers are being considered for rosterspots with Team Canada for the World Championships in Quebec City andHalifax.
Fuzzy cheeks and brief NHL resumes or not, rookies Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano of the Edmonton Oilers are being considered for roster spots with Team Canada for the World Championships in Quebec City and Halifax.
Gagner, 18, and Cogliano, 20, have been put on notice by Team Canada that they are in contention to be added to the roster when it’s finalized tomorrow or Wednesday.
With 15 players, including Oilers defenceman Steve Staios, already named to the roster, the final additions depend on which players are available when the first round of playoffs is over. That said, Gagner and Cogliano, among 25 or so players with the “on notice” designation, have a shot.
“The reason that they’re under consideration is they play a mature game,” Team Canada coach Ken Hitchcock said on the weekend. “They don’t play like kids.
“There’s lots of 20-year-old players who aren’t close to being considered because they don’t have any maturity to their game. Both these guys do and that’s why they’re being considered.”
With Oilers had coach Craig MacTavish on Hitchcock’s staff as an associate coach along with Pat Burns and Mike Johnston, Gagner and Cogliano have somebody pitching for them.
Both are getting a long look from Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman and assistants Doug Armstrong and Luc Robitaille. As Hitchcock put it, “They’re both on the radar.”
Gagner, who turns 19 in August, was the youngest player in the NHL this season. He finished third in team scoring with 13 goals and 36 assists for 49 points. Cogliano, who turns 21 June 14, was right behind with 18 goals and 27 helpers.
Team Canada’s roster could include as few as 22 players and as many as 25. If the number is 25, the final couple of spots could be filled by young players like Gagner and Cogliano. With the 2010 Olympics approaching, being part of the team would provide valuable experience.
“They’ve always had younger players on the back end of their line-up learning what it takes,” Hitchcock said.
Team Canada opens a two-day training camp Friday in Quebec City and plays its first pre-tournament game against Finland April 26. The tournament runs May 2-18.
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In a decade covering the Edmonton Oilers, Robin Brownlee has been the news-breaker and insightful voice for hockey fans in Oil Country.