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Black armbands all round today. The Great Habs Hope, Louis Leblanc, has been cut from Canada's WJC squad.

There's no joy in Slushville, mighty Louis has struck out.

At least Montreal scouting director Trevor Timmins won't have to shiver in the stands of the Agridome for nothing. 2008 second-rounder Danny Kristo is expected to wear the "C" for Team USA.

Leblanc, on the other hand, will have to content himself with spending the next weeks in Cambridge, Mass., where he attends some quisling institution called Harvard.

It's interesting that the outcry over his exclusion from the squad is tempered - not to say dampened altogether - by the fact that six players from the QMJHL will suit up.

Friends, that's the highest representation from the league in a decade.

Which, of course, is seen as major progress for hockey in La Belle Province.

It might even quell all this high-pitched fussing over the fact that Team Canada recruiters have an unfavourable bias against players from the Q, who according to popular stereotypes are of course too small, too lazy, too soft, too goal-happy and a little too Du Maurier-and-un-petit-rouge to be any good (hi Mr. Cherry!).

All that talk is complete rubbish, as this year's crop of Q heroes demonstrates.

The pointy-headed quants at FI Analytics LLP, our wholly-owned Cayman Islands-based subsidiary, have crunched all the appropriate numbers, come up with some indecipherable formulas, and established a new law of hockey punditry: the QMJHL's allotment on Canada's WJC team is a function the number of players from Quebec picked in the first round of the NHL draft.

Look at the 2008 draft's first round: zero Quebec-born players. Last year's Quebec content at the WJC: three.

This year's draft: five Quebec-born or trained players. This year's Little Team Canada: six players from the Q. QED, as it were.

They are: forwards Jordan Caron and Patrice Cormier (both of the Rimouski Océanic), Gabriel Bourque (Baie-Comeau Drakkars), Luke Adam (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles), defenceman Marco Scandella (Val d'Or Foreurs), and goalie Jake Allen (Montreal Junior).

All are at least 19, all have also been drafted into the NHL. Four other QMJHL players, plus Leblanc, were cut.

Caron was picked in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Boston Bruins, Bourque, a fifth-round pick last June by the Nashville Predators, has 38 points in 30 games for Baie-Comeau.

Never mind that Adam, a Buffalo Sabres draft, is from Newfoundland, and Allen, picked in the 2008 second round just before Adam by the St. Louis Blues, hails from New Brunswick. As does Cormier, a returnee from last year.

No matter. We claim these players in the good name of the Q.

Luck and circumstance surely have something to do with it, but it says here the Quebec league may be making strides in producing top-level players.

Could it also be that the crackdown on goonery most foul in the "circuit Courteau" has had something to do with it?

Might the by-product of the cultural change launched in 2008 be - gasp! - better hockey?

We'd be tempted to say yes, but Don Cherry might let loose a cascade of f-bombs in our direction. So in the interests of conformity and self-preservation we'll stick with the official puck Neanderthal line: f--- no.

In any case, we prefer to look at the bright side: maybe our boy Trev will finally be convinced to draft first-rounders from somewhere other than the USHL or obscure high school leagues in Minnesota.

Pah, who are we kidding?

Follow on Twitter: @MrSeanGordon

 

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