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James Reimer expected to continue heavy workload

James Reimer can expect to keep up his heavy workload at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

The goaltender started each of Canada's first three games at the tournament and coach Ken Hitchcock indicated after Tuesday's win over Switzerland he expected Reimer to get in the "majority" of remaining games. General manager Dave Nonis is comfortable with that plan.

"It's his choice," Nonis said Wednesday. "We're not really handling this as a management group any different than I'd handle a NHL team. Once the players are here, I don't think Ken Hitchcock or (assistant coaches) Pete DeBoer or Scotty Arniel need my help to decide who to play or which line combinations.

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"They're going to play who they want."

Reimer has been solid so far with a 1.76 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

The team is also carrying Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings and Devan Dubnyk of the Edmonton Oilers. With Canada's next two games being played back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, Bernier might get the call in the second of those games.

Otherwise, the job will probably be left to the 23-year-old Reimer, who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs make a push for the playoffs after getting called up from the AHL midway through the year.

"Reimer I think has been good," said Nonis. "He's been like he was for our run in Toronto."

VERMETTE'S WAIT: Antoine Vermette is just about ready to make his debut at the IIHF World Hockey Championship for Canada.

The forward sat out the first three games of the tournament while recovering from an undisclosed lower-body injury suffered during an exhibition game in Prague on April 27. He was one of three Canadian players to take an optional skate Wednesday and is hoping to be ready for Friday's game.

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"I feel pretty good," said Vermette. "We had a good discussion with the doctors and a good skate today again. I'm improving every day."

Hockey Canada has been extra cautious with the Columbus Blue Jackets centre, who hasn't represented Canada since the 1999 under-18 Nations Cup.

Vermette is understandably anxious to see some action. He was forced to decline an invitation to last year's world championship because of a back injury and jumped at the opportunity this time around.

"It's fun to be around, but definitely you want to be out there with your teammates," said Vermette. "I'm pretty pleased with the way things are going. I've been improving pretty good over the last couple days and the team's doing well too.

"It's a good atmosphere."

COLAIACOVO'S CONDITIONING: Carlo Colaiacovo surprised himself with how good he felt during his first hockey game in almost a month.

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The Canadian defenceman made his debut at the IIHF World Hockey Championship on Tuesday by playing a modest 9:21 of ice time. Prior to travelling to Europe last week, he hadn't skated since the St. Louis Blues wrapped up the regular season on April 9.

"I've been feeling a lot better than I expected," Colaiacovo said after skating Wednesday. "For the first period yesterday, the first couple shifts (my legs) felt a little heavy. But as the game went on, I thought I got a lot better and felt a lot better."

The 28-year-old was a late addition to the team.

General manager Dave Nonis kept him on standby while waiting to see who might become available after the first round of the NHL playoffs. Truth be told, Colaiacovo didn't really expect to get the call.

"I had a hard time believing a lot of the guys that were being looked at and available had said no," said Colaiacovo. "I was really surprised by that. Thankfully, their answer has given me the opportunity to be here and I couldn't be more thankful for that."

MOSER'S HIT: Simon Moser remembered his name. He just didn't remember seeing Dion Phaneuf coming his way.

The Swiss forward was able to smile about the big hit he took from Phaneuf in the second period of Tuesday's game against Canada. He briefly went unconscious while struggling to catch his breath on the bench afterwards.

"I didn't see him coming so I wasn't expecting the hit," said Moser. "That's the big problem. I didn't see him."

Moser returned to the team's dressing room and had to answer a series of questions - including what his name was. He passed with flying colours.

"They asked me a few questions, but I (could) remember everything and know where I am," said Moser. "So it's no concussion."

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