Leafs Locker: World junior memories, advice different for Rielly, Hamilton

Neither the Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly nor the Calgary Flames’ Dougie Hamilton won gold with Canada at the world junior championship, but the defencemen agreed on the kind of advice they would give to the Canadian players at the 2018 tournament.

“Seize the opportunity,” Rielly said Wednesday, a couple of hours before Hockey Canada revealed its 32-player roster for the selection camp. “When you talk to guys around the league you played with, we still tell stories about it.

“The guys who lost (in the world junior), like myself, look back on it with great memories of the experience, but with regret that we weren’t able to win it. It’s one of the best opportunities you will get in your career.”

Rielly and Hamilton were teammates on the 2013 team in Ufa, Russia, that finished fourth despite having access to each eligible player during the 2012-13 National Hockey League lockout. A year earlier in Alberta, Hamilton was a member of the Canadian side that won bronze.

“It’s one of the best hockey memories you can have, especially playing in Canada,” Hamilton said.

“The month (from the start of the selection camp to the end of the tournament) goes by so quick. At the time, when it’s happening, it’s as good as it can get for you.

“It was hard to go back to junior after it was done and play in front of 3,000 fans. Really enjoy it, the whole process, the whole month. That’s what I would say.”

The experience, of course, was different for Flames forward Curtis Lazar. A member of the Canadian team that was fourth in 2014, Lazar was captain one year later in Toronto when Canada beat Russia at the Air Canada Centre to win gold.

While several forwards on the 2015 Canadian team have gone to enjoy fine starts in their respective NHL careers, including Connor McDavid, Max Domi, and Brayden Point, Lazar is among those who have had an inconsistent adjustment to the NHL.

In 198 games with Calgary and Ottawa prior to Wednesday, Lazar had 42 points.

“I’ve always said I’ve had to develop at the NHL level because I’ve played (only) 13 games in the American Hockey League,” Lazar said.

“Everyone’s goal is to play in the NHL as soon as you can. I wish I had been utilized maybe a little bit differently (during his time with the Senators), but you can’t change that. It’s all part of the ride.”

MOORE IS MORE

Not that long ago — a span of five games — Leafs winger Matt Martin was disappointed to be a healthy scratch against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Since sitting, however, Martin and fellow veteran Dominic Moore have continued to gel as a fourth-line pairing.

“He’s one of those guys who always seems to be in the right spot, especially defensively,” Martin said. “He’s pretty vocal on the ice and on the bench, and that goes a long way.”

William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Connor Brown all have had fourth-line duty this season.

“Pretty good right wingers,” Martin said with a smile. “Obviously, that’s not where those guys want to be. But I think when they’re there, they make the most of it. Willie has been really good. He is a positive guy. Mitchy, when he was there, was a positive guy. That’s important.

“Sometimes when guys get moved down in the lineup they kind of sulk and pout about it and that makes it hard for us as players. But (the Leafs’ talented fourth-line right-wingers) have said they wanted to have fun and that goes a long way.”

JAGR OUT

Flames forward Jaromir Jagr didn’t get a chance to improve on his 79 points in 64 career games against the Leafs, as the lower-body injury that kept the 45-year-old out of seven games earlier this season flared up. “Kind of recurring,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “It’s a day-to-day thing.”

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies