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Canada's world junior team battling flu

Canada's Mark Stone reacts to getting hit on the hand with a stick during practice at the 2012 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary, Alberta, January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol

TODD KOROL

Brendan Gallagher has played for Don Hay the last three years with the Vancouver Giants and in that time, couldn't ever remember him missing a day of practice.

"It takes a lot to keep him away from the rink, so he must be really under the weather," concluded Gallagher, with a laugh.

Hay and assistant coach Scott Walker were both absent Monday for Canada's last run-through before Tuesday's world junior semi-final against either Russia or the Czech Republic because of the flu.

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Earlier, forward Michal Bournival missed a game with the bug that's threatening to spread through the Canadian dressing room, which is why the medical staff instituted a set of protocols Monday designed to keep everybody as healthy as possible with only a handful of days remaining in the tournament.

"You can't underestimate that stuff, because if you get the flu, it can really hurt your game, so you gotta be real careful," said Gallagher, who also noted: "The doctors are doing a good job. We all got our own hand sanitizers. We're trying to keep it under control. Obviously, it's a pretty important thing for us to be aware of. You gotta wash your hands."

So, in addition to all the basic facts of hockey life that they had drummed into them Monday, that is the mantra going forward: Wash those hands.

Bournival is back playing after missing the Denmark game; Quintin Howden has had a touch of it as well, but so far, everyone else is good to go.

"Hopefully, it doesn't spread to the players, that's why the coaches aren't here," said defenceman Brandon Gormley. "As long as you're aware of it and you know about it, you can protect yourself."

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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