2008 world championship
Canada goes with Hitch
Ken Hitchcock will be behind the bench when Canada looks to become the first host country to win the IIHF World Hockey Championship in two decades.A good choice. This is actually the first time Hitchcock has coached a non-playoff team (for a full season), and will be his first opportunity to take the reins at the world championships.
He's been unveiled as the Canadian coach for next month's event in Halifax and Quebec City. His assistants have yet to be named.
Normally, early April would be the time I'd be speculating on which eliminated NHLers would be named to their respective country's team, but with the tournament in Canada for the first time ever, the schedule's been bumped back all the way to early May.
That means there'll be an awful lot more teams eliminated from the NHL's postseason, with plenty of players from clubs that lose in the second round able to fly to Halifax or Quebec City.
So consider this an early, early look.
From the 10 to 12 teams likely out of the playoff running, here are a few NHL candidates I'd invite for the various teams:
Canada: St. Louis, Pominville, Roy, Doan, Nash, Boyes, Kariya, Sharp, Horton, Toews, Gagner, McDonald, Jovanovski, Bouwmeester, Keith, Seabrook, Morris, Boyle, Garon, Legace, Leclaire
Czech Republic: Hemsky, Vrbata, Lang, Kotalik, Vasicek, Hanzal, Holik, Olesz, Vyborny, T. Kaberle, Kubina, Spacek, Kuba, Klesla, Z. Michalek, Vokoun, Pavelec
Finland: O. Jokinen, J. Jokinen, N. Kapanen, Bergenheim, Peltonen, Pitkanen, Lydman, Toskala, Lehtonen, Norrena
Russia: Kovalchuk, Frolov, S. Kozlov, Afinogenov, Grebeshkov, Kalinin, Zyuzin, Bryzgalov, Khabibulin
Slovakia: Satan, Handzus, Stumpel, Marcel Hossa, Visnovsky, Sekera, Mezei, Valabik
Sweden: Modin, M. Tjarnqvist, Lindstrom, Karlsson, Enstrom, Tallinder, Tarnstrom, Havelid, Johansson, Stralman, Hedberg, Tellqvist, Ersberg
USA: Kane, Brown, Tkachuk, Mueller, O'Sullivan, J. Blake, Guerin, Halpern, Booth, Stafford, Stempniak, Gaustad, Byfuglien, Gilbert, Hainsey, E. Johnson, Ballard, J. Johnson, R. Miller, Anderson