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March 18, 2016

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

An Olympic close call

Brewer injury almost opened door to Games for Redden


 While no one wished ill will to Edmonton Oilers defenceman Eric Brewer, it didn't take long for word to spread at the Senators' morning skate yesterday that the Olympian had suffered a shoulder injury Monday in San Jose.

 But by the time the Senators travelled to the First Union Center to face the Philadelphia Flyers last night, any hope Redden may have had to replace Brewer at the Games had disappeared because the Oiler is listed as day-to-day.

 Brewer said his injury is only a mild strain and he should be fine for the Olympics. That means Redden will continue to wait and see if anybody goes down before the tournament starts Feb. 15.

 Redden was passed up by Wayne Gretzky and his coaching staff when Team Canada was announced Dec. 15, but was listed as an alternate blueliner along with the Calgary Flames' Derek Morris.

 Redden is realistic about his chances of playing in the Olympics.

 "I'm not really thinking about it anymore," said Redden, who was selected to take part in the NHL all-star festivities Feb. 1-2 in Los Angeles. "That was something I thought a lot about before the announcement was made."


 According to Senators coach Jacques Martin, an associate on the Team Canada staff, Redden missed making the team by only one vote (4-3).

 According to Martin, Redden would likely get the call if there is an injury to Team Canada's blue-line corps. Morris has missed extended periods of action with wrist and knee injuries, which could hurt his chances.

 "If the opportunity opens up, I think he'll get the chance to go," Martin said of Redden. "If he doesn't, I think he can still be considered one of the top young defencemen in the league.

 "You don't control things like injuries and you don't want to see anybody getting hurt. If he gets the chance to go, that would be great for him, but if not he's going to get a week to rest. In either case, whether he goes or not, both scenarios could be beneficial for him."


 Martin will also travel to the all-star festivities in L.A., but he's going on Olympic business. Coach Pat Quinn, along with assistants Martin, Wayne Fleming and Ken Hitchcock, will begin putting together line combinations.

 The meetings will also include a health update. St. Louis defenceman Al MacInnis has returned from a back injury, but others -- including Philly forward Simon Gagne (shoulder) and Colorado defenceman Adam Foote -- have been nursing injuries.

 Gretzky and assistant GM Kevin Lowe have made it clear they want the players to report in tip-top shape. In an interview with Rogers Sportsnet on Monday, Lowe nearly begged players who aren't 100% to let management know.

 The alternate list also includes Boston centre Joe Thornton, Edmonton forward Anson Carter and Phoenix goalie Sean Burke. If somebody can't go, then changes can be made before the final roster is given to the International Ice Hockey Federation.

 But forget speculation that goalie Ed Belfour or winger Theoren Fleury are going to be removed from the roster.

 "The only changes that will be made will be because of injury,'' Martin said. '`You aren't going to take guys off the list."

 That's why had Brewer suffered a more serious injury, Redden could have gotten his chance.

 "If they need me, they've got my phone number and they know where they can find me," said Redden.

 For now, though, Redden can keep his plans to return to his Lloydminster home and visit Jasper Park during the Games, but Salt Lake City is still a possibility.

2002 Games Columnists