Canada team to beat as World Cup rosters announced

Wed Mar 2, 2016 8:22pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada will be the team to beat at this year's World Cup of Hockey after unveiling one of the most well-balanced preliminary rosters released on Wednesday by the eight teams competing in the tournament.

Twelve of the 16 players named to Canada's roster were on the squad that won gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including forwards Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Carey Price.

Canada will bring plenty of scoring prowess, a shutdown defense and talented trio of goaltenders to the Sept. 17-Oct. 1 tournament in Toronto where they will be sure to draw off the home crowd and frustrate opponents.

Sweden, who lost to Canada in the gold medal game at the 2014 Olympics, also unveiled an impressive mix of veterans and youth that will be headlined by one of the world's top goalies in Henrik Lundqvist.

Like Canada, Sweden also boast a deep blue line and loads of talent at the forward position where playmaker Nicklas Backstrom will be among a slew of offensive threats including twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Steen.

Team USA's roster includes prolific goal scorer Patrick Kane, veteran defenseman Ryan Suter and standout goalie Jonathan Quick. The team did raise some eyebrows, however, by leaving off Phil Kessel, a high-scoring forward with Olympic experience.

Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk were among those named to a Russian team that will be looking to make a statement on the international stage given their disappointing quarter-finals loss on home soil at the 2014 Olympics.

Finland, who reached the podium at the last three Olympics, will have one of the top goaltending tandems of the tournament with Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne.   Continued...

Canada's Sidney Crosby gets ready for a face off during their Ice Hockey World Championship final game at the O2 arena in Prague, Czech Republic May 17, 2015. REUTERS/David W Cerny