World Hockey Championship

Injuries force Bernier, Phaneuf to skip Worlds

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Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf and starting goaltender Jonathan Bernier have elected to skip next month’s World Hockey Championship.

Phaneuf is still dealing with a right hand issue, which forced him to miss 12 games during the season. On Monday the Leafs captain noted his hand was still slightly swollen.

The 30-year-old suffered the injury during a January fight with Senators’ forward Milan Michalek.

Bernier told reporters following Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens that he was considering Hockey Canada’s offer to represent the country overseas.

During Monday’s locker cleanout, the 26-year-old said he’s decided not to go due to both an undisclosed injury and the uncertainty surrounding his contract. Bernier is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.

James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Rielly could be headed to the Czech Republic.

Van Riemsdyk told reporters he’s considering an offer to join Team USA while Rielly is awaiting the results from an MRI.

Report: Jackets’ Todd Richards to coach Team USA at Worlds

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The Columbus Blue Jackets conclude their season Saturday night when they visit the New York Islanders. However, Jackets’ head coach Todd Richards may have a little more coaching to do before enjoying the offseason.

According to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch, Richards is expected to be named Team USA’s head coach for the World Hockey Championships.

Richards is no stranger to the international game. The 48-year-old Minnesota native served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. He was also an assistant coach of the U.S. team at the 2010 World Championship in Germany.

On Wednesday Hockey Canada announced its management staff for the tournament, which begins May 1.