Monday, November 29, 2010

Ranford looking to next year

By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Hockey Canada released the names of the 39 players it has invited to try out for the country’s national junior team on Monday.
The roster doesn’t include left-winger Brendan Ranford of the Kamloops Blazers, never mind that not one of the 23 forwards has scored more goals than the Edmonton native.
However, Ranford, an 18-year-old who leads the WHL with 24 goals, wasn’t all that disappointed.
“No, not really,” he said. “I looked at the list and there are a lot of good guys who are off the list. You can’t really complain about that. There are good players there and they should do well.”
The selection camp runs Dec. 11-15 in Toronto. The 2011 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Buffalo, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.
Ranford, like so many other Canadians, young and old, always watches the tournament, and this one will be no exception.
Ranford will watch and hope for an invitation next November, when he will be 19 and in his last season of tournament eligibility.
“My biggest thing,” he said, “has always been my skating. I have to be the best skater that I can be and I have to improve on my speed and my quickness. Hopefully, that is going to help me make the camp next year.”
Of the 39 players selected for the camp, 17 are from the WHL, with 11 from the OHL, six from the QMJHL, four from the NCAA and one from the AHL.
Centre Chase Schaber and defenceman Austin Madaisky of the Blazers, like Ranford, were given at least some consideration — all three played for the WHL in the Subway Super Series — but they weren’t selected, either.
Others to have played in the Super Series who didn’t make the grade were defencemen Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades, Matt MacKenzie of the Calgary Hitmen, Neil Manning of the Vancouver Giants, Alex Petrovic of the Red Deer Rebels and Brett Ponich of the Portland Winterhawks, forwards Jimmy Bubnick of Calgary, Scott Glennie of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jordan Weal of the Regina Pats, Red Deer’s Byron Froese, Portland’s Ty Rattie, Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans, Brandon Herrod of the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon’s Darian Dziurzynski, and goaltender Kent Simpson of the Everett Silvertips.
Also missing from the roster is forward Brayden Schenn, 19, of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Schenn began the season with  the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and was assigned to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs two weeks ago on a conditioning stint. He has since returned to the Kings, but was a healthy scratch Monday night amid speculation that he will be returned to Brandon.
There are only three returning players on the Team Canada roster — defencemen Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefes, Calvin de Haan of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and Ryan Ellis of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
Defenceman Brandon Gormley of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats dislocated his right kneecap in a weekend game. A first-round selection, 13th overall, by the Phoenix Coyotes in the NHL’s 2010 draft, he won’t be available for the camp.
Canada earned a silver medal last season in Saskatoon, losing 6-5 in overtime to the United States in the championship final.
This year, Canada opens against Russia on Dec. 26.
The complete selection camp roster is in Scoreboard.

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