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Canada unsure on taxi-squad sub

Last Updated: Thu Feb 2 09:06:21 EST 2006
CBC Sports
Wayne Gretzky, executive director of Canada's Olympic men's hockey team, still has some tough roster decisions on his hands. With injuries to key defencemen, Gretzky and his staff have to choose a replacement for their taxi squad. (CP File Photo)

Team Canada's brass will wait another week before making any more roster decisions for the Olympic men's hockey squad after the withdrawal of injured defenceman Ed Jovanovski.

Executive director Wayne Gretzky, head coach Pat Quinn and the rest of the Canadian staff spoke via conference call Wednesday and decided to wait to name a replacement for the Vancouver Canucks blue-liner, who is scheduled for abdominal surgery to repair his groin this week.

Bryan McCabe of the Toronto Maple Leafs moved from the taxi squad – a list of injury replacements – to the main squad to replace Jovanovski but now another defenceman is needed to fill the spot on the three-person reserve team.

The major reason for delaying the decision is the unknown status of Olympic team mainstay Scott Niedermayer.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks defenceman has been playing all season on a bad right knee and is expected to decide whether or not he'll undergo surgery, which could jeopardize his status for the Feb. 15-26 Olympic tournament in Turin, Italy.

Niedermayer has been consulting with doctors and is expected to make a decision soon.

The other reason for putting off the decision is to have ample time to evaluate McCabe's performance since his nine-game layoff with a groin injury.

Fortunately for Gretzky and company, there are several blue-line candidates to choose from.

Among them are Dan Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers, Scott Hannan of the San Jose Sharks, Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators and rookie Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames.

According to Olympic rules, Team Canada can wait until 24 hours before its Feb. 15 opener against Italy to make final roster changes in case of injury, but management would like to have it done sooner to avoid any problems with flights and accreditation.