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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Looks like Scheifele on No. 1 line

Plays right wing in Team Canada selection camp for world juniors

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CALGARY -- It was a just a year ago that Mark Scheifele declared he wanted to centre Canada's top forward line at the world junior hockey championship.

He didn't get his way. That distinction went to Ryan Strome, with Scheifele playing the middle on Canada's second line.

Scheifele looks like he will get a chance to play on the top unit this year, but as a converted right-winger.

Canadian team head coach Steve Spott had Scheifele on the right side of Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and left-winger Jonathan Huberdeau from the start of this week's selection camp in Calgary.

"I'm willing to play any position, whatever it is," Scheifele says. "Obviously, being on the No. 1 line right now with Huberdeau and Nugent-Hopkins, I just want to stay on that, obviously make the team."

That he'll make the team isn't in question. The 19-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., would have played for the Winnipeg Jets this season if not for the NHL lockout.

Scheifele says his right-wing experience to this point was limited to a few practices with the Jets last season. But Spott began preparing the 6-3, 187-pound forward for the switch with the invitation to selection camp.

With the help of his Barrie Colts head coach, Dale Hawerchuk, a former Jet, Scheifele worked on chipping the puck up the boards and getting it to the centre on the fly during practices before his arrival in Calgary.

"You've got to battle more along the walls especially," Scheifele said. "It's a good thing to add to your resume. If you can play right-wing, it gives coaches at the next level a different opportunity.

"I want to be the best player I can at that position and do whatever it takes to help that line."

Nugent-Hopkins, Scheifele and Huberdeau were among a dozen players who didn't play in Wednesday's 4-1 exhibition loss to the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

Defencemen Dougie Hamilton, Morgan Rielly and Scott Harrington and forwards Strome, Philip Danault, Boone Jenner, Charles Hudon and Brett Ritchie also sat out, meaning they are safe bets to be on the 23-player Canadian team announced Thursday night. Defender Xavier Ouellet was a scratch because of an ankle injury.

Spott released five players Wednesday: Defencemen Adam Pelech and Derrick Pouliot and forwards Francis Beauvillier, Sean Monahan and Tyler Graovac were cut, dropping the number of players competing for 23 spots on the team to 32.

Four goalies, 10 defencemen and 18 forwards remain.

Canadian defenceman Frank Corrado of the Sudbury Wolves scored for the second time in as many days. He scored the winner in the previous night's intrasquad game.

Malcolm Subban had a tough start in Canada's net as he gave up three goals on Alberta's first seven shots, but settled down and made 11 saves. Jordan Binnington then turned away seven of eight in his half of the game.

Laurent Brossoit and Jake Paterson tended Alberta's nets. Brossoit stopped 18 of 19 shots before giving way to Paterson, who stopped the 12 he faced.

Torrie Dyck led Alberta with a pair of goals. Kruise Reddick and Johnny Lazo also scored.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2012 D3

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