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Saturday, December 12, 2015

POINT, HAWRYLUK ON THE MEND AT WORLD J'S

TORONTO (CP) - Brayden Point and Jayce Hawryluk are trying to work the rust off.

The two injured Western Hockey League stars practised in yellow no-contact jerseys on Friday at Canada's world junior selection camp as they continue to rehab upper-body injuries.

"It's feeling good,'' said Point, who injured his shoulder on Nov. 17 while playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors. "Obviously, getting back in to shape a little bit. It's my first practices in a little while, but feels good.''

Point likely won't play on Saturday or Sunday as Canada scrimmages against a team of all-star players from Canadian universities.

As one of three players returning from last year's gold-medal winning team, Point has some security at the selection camp and is working toward playing for Canadian pre-competition games in Europe before the world junior hockey championships begin in Helsinki, Finland, on Dec. 26.

Despite the injury, Point is third in the WHL's points race with 18 goals and 25 assists in 19 games.

Hawryluk, who is nursing an undisclosed upper body injury, sat out Canada's first practice on Thursday night but joined his teammates Friday morning.

"Every day I've felt better since my injury,'' said Hawryluk, who was injured on Dec. 4 when his Brandon Wheat Kings lost to the Regina Pats 2-1 in overtime. "Hopefully I'll be able to play this weekend.''

Hawryluk is 16th in the WHL's points race with 17 goals and 16 assists through 26 games for Brandon. He missed three Wheat Kings games since the injury.

"I want to give my best shot at making this team and obviously having an injury doesn't help that,'' said Hawryluk. "Just got to push through. Things are coming together and I'm starting to feel better.''

Head coach Dave Lowry has Canada practising on the larger international ice to prepare for the tournament in Helsinki, which is helping both Point and Hawryluk get their cardio back up.

"It felt good today,'' said Hawryluk on Friday morning. "I hadn't been on the ice in maybe or a week or so, so maybe a little bit rusty and my legs weren't all there.

"But it's nice to get my legs back under me and it felt good.''

"These practices are going to be good just to get my hands back, my cardio back,'' added Point. "I'm just trying to make the most of these practices.''

Defenceman Vince Dunn left Canada's selection camp on Friday with a pre-existing medical condition.

Dunn has eight goals and 16 assists with the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara IceDogs this season and could have brought an offensive spark to Canada's power play.

Hockey Canada does not plan to name a replacement for Dunn.

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