Sat Dec 10 10:25am EST
There is one less hopeful for Team Canada as its final selection camp convenes today in Calgary. Late last night, after Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner was scratched from his OHL game with the Kingston Frontenacs with what the local broadsheet called "flu symptoms," it was confirmed that the 19-year-old has been brought low by mononucleosis.
"Nothing anyone can do about it just happens!" is how Spooner, who will probably still be one of the most highly sought after veterans at the Ontario league's trade deadline, described the news to Sunaya Sapurji.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, no replacement for Spooner will be named.
There was a similar situation in 2008, when forward Nick Spaling was diagnosed with mononucleosis on the eve of camp. (TSN)
That leaves the camp at 42 players, still more than any other country's. It is moot now, but Spooner was certainly an intriguing possibility to make the team. He was a bubble player, but he is a superb skater and a very intelligent player with a lot of skill. He's also a very good penalty killer, with an OHL-best seven short-handed goals, matching the total he's managed on the power play and even strength while playing for a last-place team where he's not surrounded by much top-end talent. He could have challenged to be one of the supporting cast, although it's possible he might have ultimately proven to be a talented player without a clear role.
Frontenacs GM Doug Gilmour, of course, is hoping to trade Spooner to get younger players and priority selection draft choices in return. This will hurt the rookie GM's chance of getting full value, but it's doubtful it would keep Gilmour from not moving Spooner. There's little sense for the OHL team to keep him on to play out the string once Spooner makes a full recovery some time in January.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: OHL Images).