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It would seem safe to assume Jake Carrick and Dominic DeSando have Aug. 29 circled on their calendars, denoted in their day planners, highlighted in their cell phones and fused into their brains.

That’s the first day on the ice for the Soo Greyhounds 2010 training camp.

It’s also Day 1 of an expected, all out battle between the two for what is likely to be one overage spot.

Look, chances are winger Vern Cooper, because of his speed, offensive talents and the way in which he complements centre Brett Thompson, and defenceman Dylan King, because of his play in the Hounds zone, willingness to scrap and leadership skills, have two of the team’s three OA slots all but wrapped up.

That would leave the third berth to be determined during camp and in the exhibition season.

And both Carrick, a winger who’s played three full seasons here, and DeSando, who plays both the wing and centre and joined the Hounds from London at last year’s trade deadline, seem well aware of what they’re up against.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen. But I’m going to work my rear end off the next couple of months,” said the five foot 11, 182 pound Carrick. “I just plan to give it my all and see what happens.”

Ditto for the five foot 10, 195 pound DeSando, who spent parts of three seasons with the Knights before coming here.

“I love the Sault that’s where I want to play,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to play and I don’t want to take this opportunity for granted. wholesale jerseys The only thing you can do is work your hardest.”

And here’s Friday’s news flash for you: There’s a difference of opinion, albeit a friendly one, between the Hounds and a member of the media.

General manager Dave Torrie said he believes it’s “a little unfair” to speculate that two OA spots are somewhat set with DeSando and Carrick to battle for the other.

Both King (Los Angeles Kings) and Carrick (Anaheim Ducks) will attend NHL rookie camps.

Based on that fact, and some other variables, Torrie disagrees with the notion that Carrick and DeSando will go head to head.

“I don’t think you go into camp saying anyone is safe,” Torrie said. “We aren’t going into camp with any predetermined ideas. We have two guys going to NHL camps, so we could wind up with two OAs, three OAs or four OAs.”

The GM also pointed out that all four players are quality individuals.

“And each one brings something a little different,” he added. “OAs are so key in structure and influence on the team

and someone might not come into camp with the right attitude. We’re keeping an open mind.”

Hey, an open mind is great. But let’s face it: Chances are King and Carrick are going to play in the OHL this season. And, if they’re healthy and ready to play, Cooper and King aren’t going to hang their jerseys anywhere but in the Essar Centre’s home dressing room.

That would mean the Hounds will need to decide whether DeSando’s speed, energy and ability to play on a line with second year centre Daniel Catenacci are more valuable to them than Carrick’s toughness, energy and ability to score a little more.

Although neither is a big offensive talent, Carrick, who has a nice shot, scored 14 times last season to seven for DeSando.

But having suffered a series of concussions in recent seasons, the Jake Carrick of 2009 2010 didn’t exhibit the same hell for leather approach we saw during his first two seasons here.

More often than not especially during the second half of the year Carrick’s gloves remained snugly on his hands.

The question is: Can he return to be the tough, edgy, willing to scrap player he once was?

“I can play the way I have to without having to fight,” Carrick insisted. “I won’t be looking to fight, but obviously, I wouldn’t back down either. I can still be effective as a grinding, physical, energy player.”

Like everything else at training camp, that remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, Carrick has become prone to concussions. And there has to be a real concern not only for his health but for whether he can effectively fill the role the Hounds see for him.


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