Red Wings players elated over World Cup selections
Detroit – You don’t often get the feeling of anticipation and excitement in a pro locker room of making a certain team.
But all around the NHL Wednesday there’s a bit of that feeling — “did I make the team?” — as if these players were trying out as kids for the first time.
All eight teams competing in the World Cup of Hockey in September are announcing their rosters of at least 16 players Wednesday.
Through Wednesday’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena the Red Wings had two representatives — goaltender Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic) and forward Pavel Datsyuk (Russia). Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall were later named to Team Sweden.
Sweden, Canada, the United States, and Team North America will announce their rosters later today.
Among the Red Wings who could be named include Dylan Larkin (Team North America), and possibly Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser (USA).
Team North America will feature players age 23 and younger who are eligible to play for the U.S. or Canada.
Tomas Tatar is expected to be named to Team Europe, which will be comprised of European players from outside Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia, at a later date.
Mrazek was thrilled to be able to represent his country and play in a such a star-studded tournament.
“Very excited,” Mrazek said. “It’s going to be a great tournament, a lot of guys who know each other from some (NHL) teams. We play against each other in the (regular) season.
“It’ll be a fun tournament.”
NHL training camps will be compromised by the World Cup, as the league’s best players are off in Toronto competing in the tournament, but everyone in the league believes this is a huge positive overall.
“I’m sure there’s positive and negatives but it’s a great thing,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I just think to have the opportunity to have the best players in the world going against each other and playing for your country is a cool thing.
“Whenever it is it’s great, and we’ll plan accordingly.”
Mrazek will get the start in net Wednesday against Chicago after missing Monday’s game with a groin injury.
“I’m good to go,” Mrazek said. “(I) stretched my leg a little bit but it was a good one day off and I’m ready to go.”
…There were no other changes to the lineup.
…The Blackhawks and Red Wings haven’t faced each other yet this season, so there was a high level of anticipation and excitement, more than usual, for a late season regular-season game. “These have been two of the best franchises in the last two decades, and the history goes much beyond that,” Blashill said. “It’s awesome. I recognize that it’s not just any team, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks, and we’re just not any team, we’re the Detroit Red Wings, and it should be a great night.”
…Tonight’s game was career game No. 900 for Henrik Zetterberg, joining teammate Pavel Datsyuk who passed that milestone earlier this season.
“Both came into the league a little later than a lot of guys who’ve come into the league and I’d say they’ve been impact players the whole time,” Blashill said.