Messier is Canadian GM for worlds: Take 5

Mark Messier will be named general manager of the Canadian team for the 2010 world men's championship on Wednesday.

Cody Hodgson will sit out the world jr.'s, Oilers find success on the road

HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information in the hockey world.

1. Messier to lead Canada at world championship

Mark Messier will be named general manager of the Canadian team for the 2010 world men’s championship team on Wednesday. Wayne Gretzky will not be among the management group. Gretzky, however, still could be in the mix for the team’s coaching staff. When No. 99 was in Calgary for a corporate outing last month, he met with Hockey Canada officials and was given an open invitation to join the coaching staff.

2. Hodgson decides to sit out world junior tourney

Brampton Battalion centre Cody Hodgson has informed Canadian junior team officials he will not attend the selection camp that begins in Regina on Saturday and therefore will not play for Canada at the under-20 championship later this month. The 19-year-old Hodgson has been troubled by back woes and still is not pain free  after more than two months of treatment.

The Vancouver Canucks prospect suffered his back injury in late July during an off-ice training session. After being examined by a Toronto specialist and Canucks team doctors, it was determined that he had a bulging disc ailment. He played in six pre-season games with little success.

When he was cut and returned home, he visited Dr. Tony Miniaci at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and diagnosed with a nerve problem. But as he neared a return to action with the Battalion, Hodgson still experienced an occasional episode of shooting pain. Rather than rush a return to play for Canada, Hodgson has rightly decided to take his time to avoid any further damage to his career.

3. Oilers successful away from Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers won their third road game in a row  with another 3-2 shootout win in Florida against the Panthers on Monday after having only two wins in their first 12 games away from Edmonton’s Rexall Place this season.

Not since January 2006 have the Oilers enjoyed a three-game win streak on the road. They will aim for a fourth straight road win in Tampa Bay on Wednesday. Four of Edmonton’s 13 wins this season have been via a shootout.

4. Brind’Amour sits, Hurricanes win

The Carolina Hurricanes required 14 games to enjoy their first road victory this season, and they finally accomplished the feat without 39-year-old forward Rod Brind’Amour, who was a healthy scratch for Carolina’s 3-2 win in Pittsburgh. The two-time Selke Trophy winner has scored two goals and eight points in 28 games, but has a team worst plus-minus rating of –19 despite an average ice time of 16 minutes and 37 seconds, fifth among the Hurricane forwards.

Last season, Brind’Amour was excused from the final two games of a three-game western road trip to rest up for the stretch drive. He finished the final 28 games with eight goals and 22 points to push his season totals to 16 goals and 51 points, but he still wound up a team-worst –28.

5. Hockey Canada names Daigle to Spengler Cup team

Interesting to see some of the names that Hockey Canada has put in place for coach Craig MacTavish’s team for the Spengler Cup later in Davos, Switzerland, this month.

Front and centre is Alexandre Daigle, who has played in Switzerland the past four seasons. There also will be former NHLers like Serge Aubin, Brett McLean, Mark Bell, Boyd Devereaux and Curtis Brown as well as Micki Dupont, Brendan Bell, Jamie Rivers and goalie David LeNeveu. In the past 20 Spengler Cups, Canada has won eight and finished second six times.


Tim has covered the hockey landscape and other sports in Canada for three decades for CBC Sports, the Globe and Mail and Toronto Sun. He has been to three Winter Olympics, 11 Stanley Cups, a world championship as well as 17 world junior championships, 13 Memorial Cups and 13 University Cups. The native of Waterloo, Ont., always has his eye out for an underdog story.