Doughty, Simmonds hope to play for Canada in WC

doughty.jpgRich Hammond of LA Kings Insider is reporting this afternoon that both Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds are hoping to play for Canada in this summer’s IIHF World Championships. Canada still has 10 open spots on its roster, and I’m just going to go ahead and say that Doughty will likely be on that team by the time the tournament rolls around.

Of course, no one likes to see any team get ousted in the playoffs, but you have to wonder if GM Mark Messier did a bit of private fist pump at the thought of getting Doughty on his team.

Doughty is one of the top three defensemen in the NHL (we debate all day who the other two might be, but I’m not budging on Doughty) and he’ll have a blast in the World Championships. That he’s itching to get back on the ice for his country after a disappointing finish to the season speaks to just how competitive he is.

I’m sure Brian Burke is on the phone with Dustin Brown as we speak.

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    Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

    Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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    Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

    Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

    Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

    Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

    We’ll start to find out tonight.

    Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


    Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

    Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

    Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

    Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

    Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

    Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

    Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

    Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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    Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

    “We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

    So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

    That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

    The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

    “My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

    That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

    Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen