Stastny named Team USA captain for World Championships

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Team USA coach Joe Sacco is going with the guy he knows best to be the team’s leader at the IIHF World Championships.

USA Hockey announced Avalanche center Paul Stastny as the captain of this year’s squad. A pair of Lightning players will wear the “A” as forward Nate Thompson and defenseman Matt Carle were named alternates.

The Americans are trying to improve on last year’s seventh place finish at Worlds. Going without most of the high-level talent hurts most teams thanks to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but this is the final international tune-up before the Olympics in Sochi in February.

Team USA will kick off play at Worlds tomorrow against Thomas Vanek and Austria in Helsinki, Finland.

Related: Eric Staal captains Canada’s World Championships team