Red Wings have stake in World Championship May 10-26 in Slovakia
The International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship could benefit the Red Wings.
The tournament, which begins on Friday in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia, and runs until May 26, features Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening on Team USA, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi with Canada and Filip Hronek with the Czech Republic.
Wings coach Jeff Blashill leads the U.S. team for the third consecutive year. He coached the squad to a bronze medal in 2018.
“As a coach or a player, you should never get used to being done in April,” Blashill said on www.mlive.com. “This gives me a chance to continue to work all the way to the beginning of June, similar to being on a playoff run. You’re working in preparation; you got an opportunity to compete in highly competitive games. Some of these rosters are littered with great players from the NHL. I say the same thing to our players that have opportunities to go, don’t get used to being done working.”
The U.S. opens against host Slovakia at 2:15 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
Team USA also features star forwards Patrick Kane as captain (Larkin is an alternate captain), Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills), Chris Kreider and James van Riemsdyk.
Also on the team are Jack Hughes, the favorite to be the top overall pick at the NHL draft in June and, at 17, the youngest player ever to represent the U.S. in the tournament, and his brother, defenseman Quinn Hughes.
Jack Hughes said he plans to use the World Championship to learn to be an NHL player.
“Just to be around them day after day, learn things from every guy, talk to them, be around the pros, will help me a lot as I prepare for next season and jump to the NHL,” he told NHL.com. “The World Championship isn't about the NHL draft for me; it's more about becoming a pro and learning the systems."
Quinn Hughes, 19, played five games with the Vancouver Canucks at the end of the season after signing with them when his sophomore season at the University of Michigan came to an end. The Canucks took him with the seventh overall pick in last year’s NHL draft.
He played in the tournament last year as an 18-year-old.
This year he and his brother are roommates as well as teammates.
“It’s going to be really cool,” Quinn told The Hockey News. “Obviously, you never know when you’re going to get these opportunities. So I’m really excited.”
"How often do you get to room and play hockey with your brother on a big stage like this?” he said. “So that's exciting."
Ryan Suter leads the U.S. defense corps, and Cory Schneider is the No. 1 goaltender.
“I counted nine guys that are regular first-line players on their NHL teams,” Blashill said. “The other players are really accomplished and have big roles on their teams.”
Blashill’s assistant coaches are Red Wings assistant Dan Bylsma and John Hynes, the New Jersey Devils’ head coach.
The U.S. is among a handful of nations expected to compete for the gold, along with Canada, Russia and Sweden.
Maple Leafs and Canada star center John Tavares suffered an oblique injury during practice on Thursday, and Bertuzzi replaced him on the top line alongside Sean Couturier and Sam Reinhart.
Tavares will return to Toronto for further evaluation.
Canada opens the tourney on Friday against Finland.