Claude Giroux

Canada creams Russia for WHC gold, Crosby joins ‘Triple Gold Club’

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Once again, Canada put together the best bunch of world-class players it could manage and overwhelmed the rest of the world.

This time around, their gold medal came at the 2015 World Hockey Championship, as they absolutely throttled Russia by a score of 6-1. The finish was fittingly lopsided, too, as the shot count was 37-12 in Canada’s favor.

Sidney Crosby factored into the win – including a goal assisted by best buddy in the world Claude Giroux – and now joins the “Triple Gold Club.”

HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lists some other members of this made-up but impressive group:

It had to be a refreshing period for frustrated NHL players on Team Canada, particularly guys like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Russia finishes up with the silver medal while the U.S. edged the Czech Republic earlier on Sunday for a hard-fought bronze. There were obviously some missed feelings for Russia after such a drubbing in the gold-medal game.

In other tournament news, Jaromir Jagr took home the tournament MVP.

Crosby joins group of ‘high-end, young’ Canadians at Worlds

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A quick glance at some of the forwards that have committed to playing for Team Canada at this year’s World Championship, and perhaps it’s no surprise that Sidney Crosby wanted to be a part of it.

Still, Team Canada GM Nill didn’t expect Crosby to play. And he certainly didn’t expect Crosby to be the one to reach out to him.

“I was going to give him a call out of respect, just to see if he wanted to go,” Nill told TSN 1290. “Well, it was the opposite way. As soon as [the Penguins were eliminated], he reached out to me right away and said, ‘I want to be part of this team.’”

Among the “high-end, young kids” that Crosby will be skating with in the Czech Republic are forwards Claude Giroux, Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Seguin, and Ryan O’Reilly, while on defense, there’s 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad.

“They’re the new guys that are kind of taking over Hockey Canada, so it’s going to be very exciting to watch,” said Nill.

Team Canada opens the tournament Friday against Latvia.

Related: NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

Flyers felt Timonen’s leadership was sorely missed

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When the Philadelphia Flyers found out that defenseman Kimmo Timonen might not be able to play in 2014-15 because of blood clots, they lost a great defenseman. However, listening to the Flyers reflect on their failed 2014-15 campaign, it sounds like they missed his off-ice presence even more.

“Kimmo was such a big presence in the locker room leadership-wise,” Flyers leading scorer Jakub Voracek said, per CSN Philly. “Since I have been here, every time things didn’t go well, we had a meeting about it.

“He always calmed things down. He was hard on us sometimes. As a team, we need to get better and I think that is what we were missing.”

Timonen’s calming influence was noticed by forward Wayne Simmonds too. Defenseman Mark Streit noted that Timonen didn’t speak a lot, but when he did it had an impact on the team.

“Everybody listened up,” Streit said. “You can’t replace a guy like that.”

Whether it was possible to replace Timonen’s presence or not, they didn’t. Flyers coach Craig Berube admitted that they didn’t have a voice like Timonen’s this season.

“And again, it’s leadership, whether it is one voice or a number of voices,” Berube said. “We need more of it.”

Perhaps the Flyers will seek that sort of veteran presence on the free agent or trade market over the summer. Maybe captain Claude Giroux will grow into that role. Flyers goaltender Steve Mason has an interest in filling the void, although Berube doesn’t think that’s the role of a starting goaltender given how demanding it is to play between the pipe. He’d rather see those extra locker room responsibilities be assumed by a skater.

Of course, Timonen did end up returning, but Philadelphia decided to trade him to Chicago rather than keep him around for its long-shot battle for a playoff spot. He played in 16 regular season contests this season, all with the Blackhawks.

Related:

Timonen should be ready for playoffs

Seguin, Giroux highlight Team Canada roster for Worlds

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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.

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers won’t fool with Penguins on Rivalry Night

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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.