Mike Halford

Canada unveils preliminary World Cup roster — no Subban, Perry or Marchand

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Canada released its preliminary 16-man roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday and, is often the case whenever Canada selects players for an international tournament, there was as much talk about who didn’t make it as who did.

Many of the familiar names were there — Sidney Crosby, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Ryan Getzlaf — but there were more than a few notable omissions, including ’13 Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban.

The Canada roster:

Goalies: Corey Crawford, Carey Price, Braden Holtby

Defense: Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Tyler Seguin, Steve Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews

One of the more intriguing developments is that only four blueliners were selected. Of all the teams to unveil their rosters today, only Russia named fewer, and Canada GM Doug Armstrong addressed the team’s decision.

“There’s really good competition in the rest of that defensive group,” Armstrong explained, in an on-air interview with Sportsnet. “We have four players from the last Olympics that weren’t named [Subban, Dan Hamhuis, Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo] and we have some really good players, a player like [Brent] Burns that’s having a great year.

“There’s a lot of guys that can get into this group.”

At forward, notable omissions included former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry — a member of the ’10 and ’14 Olympic teams — and Brad Marchand, who many felt had played his way onto the team with his stellar play this year. Marchand currently sits fifth in the NHL in goals, with 32.

Goalie nods: Mrazek versus Crawford as Wings host Hawks on Rivalry Night

Corey Crawford
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It should be a good night at Joe Louis.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are in town, looking to write the latest chapter in their age-old rivalry with former Norris Division foe Detroit.

In goal, the battle should be fierce.

Corey Crawford, in the midst of an outstanding campaign, will get the nod for the ‘Hawks. He’s been very good in his last two outings — last Thursday, he stopped 29 of 31 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Preds and, on Sunday, stopped 28 of 30 in a big win over NHL-leading Washington.

The Red Wings will counter with Petr Mrazek.

Mrazek, who on Wednesday was named to the Czech Republic team for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, is also enjoying a banner season. He’s coming into tonight’s action having won two straight, which included a 5-3 victory over Colorado in Saturday’s outdoor game in Denver.

You can catch tonight’s game on NBCSN, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Elsewhere…

Jonathan Bernier will be in goal for Toronto as the Leafs invade Washington. Philipp Grubauer will give Braden Holtby a night off in the Caps’ net.

— It’s Mike Condon versus John Gibson when the Habs take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

Lundqvist, Sedins highlight Sweden’s veteran-laden World Cup roster

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Sweden will have plenty of experience on hand this fall at the World Cup of Hockey.

On Wednesdy, the Swedes unveiled their preliminary 16-man roster for the September tournament, a roster that features several seasoned NHL veterans like Henrik Lundqvist, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall.

Of that group, the 34-year-old Lundqvist is the youngest.

The Swedish roster:

G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks

D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
D Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
D Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings
D Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning

F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
F Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
F Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
F Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues
F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

As far as “snubs” go, the biggest is probably Dallas blueliner John Klingberg. Klingberg, second only to Karlsson among Swedish d-men scorers this year (53 points in 65 games), wasn’t able to crack what is, admittedly, a pretty formidable top six.

Other notable omissions include Colorado’s Carl Soderberg, Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad, Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Washington’s Marcus Johansson, Carolina’s Victor Rask, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, Pittsburgh’s Carl Hagelin, Vancouver’s Alex Edler and Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom.

In goal, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom beat out a host of competitors for the No. 2 gig behind Lundqvist. Jonas Gustavsson, Anders Nilsson, Jhonas Enroth and Eddie Lack — who used to play with Markstrom in Vancouver — were likely challengers for the spot.

Ottawa signs Gomez: one year, $575,000

Scott Gomez, Erik Gustafsson
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The Ottawa Senators added some veteran center depth on Wednesday, signing Scott Gomez for the remainder of the season.

Gomez, 36, has split this year between St. Louis and, most recently, Washington’s AHL affiliate in Hershey. He had eight points in 21 games with the Blues and 24 points in 18 games with the Bears, apparently showing more than enough to land with yet another NHL club.

A veteran of over 1,000 NHL contests, Gomez has — on a few occasions — looked as though his playing career might be done, only to resurrect with a new team. Last year, he hung around New Jersey before signing a contract nearly halfway through the year, then went on to post an impressive 34 points in 58 games.

The Gomez signing makes sense for Ottawa as, earlier this week, the club announced that top center Kyle Turris had been shut down indefinitely with an ankle injury.

In last night’s shutout loss to the Blues, center duties were mostly handled by Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar and Zack Smith.

Panthers sign WHL sniper Hunt to entry-level deal

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The Florida Panthers continued to stockpile young talent on Wednesday, announcing they’ve reached an agreement with WHL Moose Jaw scoring phenom Dryden Hunt.

Hunt, 20, went undrafted during his eligible years but has gained serious interest during a breakout ’15-16 campaign. Currently, he has a whopping 50 goals and 102 points through 63 games for the Warriors, sitting second in the Western League in both goals and points.

Hunt, who’d previously attended Carolina’s and Montreal’s prospect camps, is known for his dynamic shooting ability.

“He can shoot it quick. He can pull it in and disguise the release. But the one thing he does really well is he shoots it hard, whether it’s going to be quick or he is pulling it in to change the angle on the shot,” Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter said, per the Nelson Star. “He’s got an NHL shot for sure.

“Not many guys in the NHL shoot it as hard as he does, actually.”

Earlier this week, Florida inked ’14 second-rounder Jayce Hawryluk to an entry-level deal as well.