Nikolai Kulemin will represent Russia, Mikhail Grabovski will lead Belarus while Mike Komisarek and Mike Brown will both play for Team USA at the World Championships in Slovakia later this month according to the Globe and Mail. Quite a nice surprise for Brown to get the invite I’m sure and some might say the same for Komisarek for different reasons (really though, despite a bad year he’s represented Team USA at just about every level and would have gone to the Olympics in 2010 if not for injuries). Kessel declined Team USA’s offer probably because he mistrustfully assumed he got the last invite. Carl Gunnarsson and Jonas Gustavsson are still potential invitees for Team Sweden.
You probably don’t have to venture too far out of the Barilkosphere (not to name names but… TSN Your Say) to find some ridiculous insinuations about Team Canada GM Dave Nonis and his “preferential invites” to Luke Schenn, Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer and possibly Clarke MacArthur (he’s a bubble candidate at this point).
Let’s start with MacArthur. Of all Canadian players not in the playoffs, there are only nine who had more points than Clarke: Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, Eric Staal, Mike Ribeiro, John Tavares, Matt Duchene, Alex Tanguay, Rick Nash, and Jeff Skinner. The list only becomes shorter when you consider some will/have declined. Ultimately if MacArthur doesn’t get the call it will because Nonis feels the scoring roles have been filled with other talent (Jason Spezza and Chris Stewart will likely both go and aren’t on the above list due to part seasons), but there’s little doubt he would be deserving.
James Reimer has the best save percentage of all eligible Canadian goaltenders outside of Cam Ward, who will be Canada’s #1 from the looks of things. Luke Schenn led all NHL defencemen in hits and was 12th in blocked shots. Besides the fact that Phaneuf has won two golds and a silver when representing Canada (WJs and 2007 WHC), that he is the captain of his team, or that he’s got the second most hits next to Schenn of eligible Canadian players, there are only three Canadian players not participating in the playoffs who scored more points than Phaneuf this season: Brent Burns, Alex Pietrangelo, and Mark Giordano.
Dave Nonis has been hired to lead Hockey Canada’s entry in the World Championships, a job I’m sure he takes with a lot of pride and seriousness. He’s out to put together the best team available, any suggestions to the contrary are, of course, pure lunacy.
â€œThings should be looking up around here. Weâ€™re excited and we believe that weâ€™re [moving] in the right direction here.â€
– Luke Schenn, courtesy of AM 640’s Jonas Siegel
Phaneuf, Reimer and Schenn will suit up for Team Canada at the World Championships beginning on April 29th in Slovakia.
Jonas Siegel looks at the optimism surrounding the Leafs as they set their sights on next season.
Mike Ulmer at MapleLeafs.com highlights the positives from this past season.
In his end of season press conference, Tim Brent acknowledged that his spot on the roster is uncertain, which gives him even more incentive to train hard this off season.
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports on the excitement and anticipation amongst members of the blue and white.
James Reimer lifted the Leafs pick now owned by Boston out of the draft lottery all the way to ninth overall.
The Toronto Stars takes a glimpse into the season that was.
Other hockey links:
Anaheim, Buffalo, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers will all begin the season overseas.
Red Deer Rebels playmaker leads all North American skaters heading into the draft.
Puck Daddy takes a look at the most worthy candidates to take home the Masterton Trophy, awarded to the player who displays dedication, perseverance ad sportsmanship.
Former Sens coach Clouston may already have his next gig lined up.
Last Night in Leafs Prospects:
Jesse Blacker continued his steady play for the Owen Sound Attack last night, registering one assist in a 4-1 thrashing of the Plymouth Whalers. Barring a monumental collapse, Owen Sound will move on to the semi finals and await their next opponent. The Attack can close out the series on Wednesday in Plymouth.
Will you be taking a keener interest in the World Championships this year because of the number of Leafs‘ participating in the tournament? Is James Reimer capable of handling starting duties or is he better suited as a backup in his first go-around on the international stage?