WHL Prospect Watch – 12/20/2010

Cowen and Schenn Wear the ‘A’

Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Sunday Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Cowen (Ottawa Senators) and Brandon Wheatkings forward Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles Kings) will serve as alternate captains for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. OHL defenseman Ryan Ellis will serve as captain.

“We’re going in there confident that we’re a really good hockey club,” head coach Dave Cameron said, “and a real competitive hockey club. We’re going to do our darnedest to bring back the gold [metal].”

Cowen, who served as the seventh defenseman on last year’s team and saw limited action, used that experience as motivation at this year’s camp.

“It is motivating to come off that and look to get a regular spot on this year’s team,” Cowen said. “I was thinking about that after the year ended and during the summer, so it was a bit of a thing to push me.”

Schenn meanwhile, is only on the team because the Kings released him back to his Western Hockey League team just days before the selection camp began.

The Saskatoon, SK native racked up 99 points (34 goals, 65 assists) in 59 games last year. He has appeared in two games for Brandon so far and has four points.

Pickard’s Busy Night

Colorado Avalanche goalie prospect Calvin Pickard made 50 saves to help his Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Portland Winterhawks 4-2 on Saturday night.

Pickard was one of the more notable cuts made from Team Canada’s selection camp this week. The 18-year-old tender has a 2.82 goals against average and a .927 save percentage in 30 games for Seattle.

“It was tough getting to 40 players — getting to 22 was excruciating,” Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast said. “We had to let go of a lot of good hockey players.”

Mark Visentin from the OHL and the QMJHL’s Olivier Roy beat out Pickard for the job between the pipes.

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