Canada won’t be lacking for offensive weapons at this year’s World Hockey Championships.
Two of the league’s top-12 scorers — Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Philly’s Claude Giroux — will wear the red and white in Prague from May 1-17, Hockey Canada announced on Tuesday. Seguin and Giroux were part of the original 19-man roster set for the tournament; Canada can register up to 25 players as teams are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The rest of the Canadian roster looks like this…
Goalies: Martin Jones, Mike Smith
Defense: Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Jake Muzzin, David Savard
Forwards: Seguin, Giroux, Matt Duchene, Cody Eakin, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan O’Reilly, Jason Spezza, Tyler Toffoli.
Team Canada will be coached by Todd McLellan.
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Consol Energy Center to kick off Wednesday’s doubleheader, with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.
The Philadelphia Flyers are already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, yet the Pittsburgh Penguins probably know all too well not to take their local rivals lightly.
If the history between the two franchises wasn’t already enough, the Flyers won the two teams’ previous two games so far in 2014-15 and are currently riding a six-game winning streak against the Penguins stretching back to last season.
In a sports age where athletes are increasingly chummy with each other, the animosity feels pretty real between these two teams.
That seems most apparent when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin take on Flyers stars like Claude Giroux. You get the impression that Giroux “kicks it up a notch” against the Penguins, and it often makes for great hockey theater.
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Both teams are dealing with some injury issues, particularly to their defensive groups.
Luke Schenn’s season is toast for the Flyers. It’s hard to imagine Kris Versteeg or Christian Ehrhoff getting in the Penguins’ lineup on Wednesday, so a forward might need to slide back to the Pittsburgh blueline to give the team three different pairings (otherwise, they might have to roll with five defensemen).
Pittsburgh hopes to build some breathing room against the New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but they know all too well that the Flyers won’t make it easy.
We wrote yesterday about Flyers owner Ed Snider, and how he bristled at the notion of staying patient with a team that had players like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and Steve Mason under contract.
While we didn’t suggest that Snider and GM Ron Hextall were on different pages when it came to returning the Flyers to the ranks of Stanley Cup contenders, the owner’s remarks did have the Philadelphia media wondering enough to ask Hextall what he thought of them.
“I agree with him 100 percent,” Hextall replied, per CSN Philly. “We are going to remain patient when it comes to drafting and developing young players and keeping as many of our picks as possible. We are also trying to get better every day whether it’s trades or if we get in the free agent market.
“I have no idea right now whether we will or not, but if we can do it, we will. The one thing that is not going to change is we are going to try to win as much as we can. That’s what pro sports is all about. Without giving away the young players or draft picks.
“We are on the same page. He’s been great. He has supported me 100 percent. Holmgren has supported 100 percent. We are all thinking the same way and going the same direction.”
Related: Hextall predicts he’ll be a patient general manager
A week-long, four-game road trip has come to an end for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they were unable to put added distance between them and the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division standings following Wednesday’s result.
The Blackhawks, third in the Central Division but now only three points ahead of the Wild, lost to the Philadelphia Flyers by a final score of 4-1. The visiting Blackhawks briefly made things interesting with an early third-period goal, but Philadelphia never relinquished its lead.
Steve Mason made 34 saves for the win, which ends a brief two-game skid for him.
For the Flyers, they’re not eliminated from playoff contention but it would take a minor miracle for them to qualify for the post-season. They do, however, possess a player in a fierce battle for the league lead in points.
Jakub Voracek entered this game with 73 points, one back of Sidney Crosby and John Tavares, both out of action on Wednesday. Voracek tied both players in the second period, as he made a beautiful pass to Claude Giroux, who tipped the puck off the cross bar and in, giving the Flyers a three-goal lead late in the second period.
According to reports, that was Giroux’s first home goal at five-on-five this season.
As we near the end of the season, the race for the league lead in points is getting crowded.
Jakub Voracek has joined Sidney Crosby and John Tavares with 74 points after the Philadelphia Flyers set up teammate Claude Giroux for a beautiful deflection goal in the second period of Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. That gave Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.