Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane, Ladd hook up with Team Canada

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AT least two Winnipeg Jets still have a chance at redemption in their 2011-12 season.

Captain Andrew Ladd and left-winger Evander Kane have both accepted invitations to join Team Canada for the world championships in Finland and Sweden, May 4-20

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"It's nice to be able to go back and try to get a gold medal," said Ladd, who played for Team Canada last season in Slovakia, when it lost in the quarter-finals to Russia.

"I had a great experience last year with it," said Ladd, who scored 28 goals for the Jets. "It's a tough tournament. Canada treats you very well and it's fun to be a part of. I think after the season's done and you're over the disappointment, I think it's exciting to have that challenge and to be able to play some hockey."

Kane, who scored 30 goals for the Jets this season, will be headed to the worlds for the third straight spring.

"It's going to be good," he said Sunday, while packing up his gear the morning after the Jets finished their regular season with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "I'm really looking forward to it."

It's probably a good thing there are a couple of weeks before the tournament begins, Kane hinted.

"It's a pro and con type thing," he said. "You don't make the playoffs every year, but you get to go represent your country and I've been fortunate to be able to do it two previous years."

There could be other Jets in the tournament, but rosters of other countries are far from finalized.

"I don't know, we'll see," said goalie Ondrej Pavelec of the Czech Republic. "It's starting May 4... we'll see. I'm going to call the coach probably in the next couple of days and we'll see."

Pavelec just finished a season with a record of 29-28-9, a career-best win total.

"It's a little bit early to talk about it, but I always had fun there and it's always nice to play for your country," Pavelec said. "But it's been a lot of games. We'll see what I'm going to decide, but I would like to go."

Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom said he hasn't yet thought about the tournament.

"I don't really know," he said. "I guess I have to make up my mind in the next couple of days here. We'll see."

There are several candidates to help Team U.S.A., including three Jets defencemen, but at least two of them won't be there.

Zach Bogosian said he's declined the invitation, opting for recovery time after he had a trying second half of the season with injuries.

Assistant captain Mark Stuart said he wasn't invited.

Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, hobbled by a late-season injury said to be a bone bruise, said he's still thinking about it.

"As of right now I'm just going to try to heal up," Byfuglien said. "We've got a couple weeks before we've got to report there. We'll see how my injuries are doing at that time and make that call then."

-- with files from Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 9, 2012 C2

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