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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada stocks up with Hamhuis

Yzerman won't add another forward

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Canada has room for two more skaters at the IIHF World Championship, but won't expand the team unless a forward gets injured.

Steve Yzerman intends to stay at a dozen forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders following Saturday's arrival of defenceman Dan Hamhuis from Vancouver.

"At 12 and eight, we really have no plans of adding a forward," Hockey Canada's executive director of the national men's team said at the Globe Arena. "If we got an injury, maybe add a forward, but we're comfortable with the group we have."

Players have begun flowing into the world championship in Stockholm and Helsinki as first-round playoff series conclude in the NHL. Each country can carry 22 skaters and three goaltenders in the tournament, but is allowed to dress 20 skaters and two goalies per game.

Canucks forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin and defenceman Alex Edler were expected to join Sweden on Saturday. Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec said in Montreal he'll play for the Czech Republic, but won't arrive in time for today's game against Canada.

Hamhuis will probably be Canada's only late pickup. The 30-year-old from Smithers, B.C., landed too late to skate with his Canadian teammates Saturday afternoon.

Minus a 13th forward, Canadian head coach Lindy Ruff can insert the defenceman into the lineup today without having to scratch another defender.

"He can be in the lineup tomorrow for sure," Ruff said. "It just depends on how much we want to play him."

The top four teams in each group of eight advance to quarter-finals. Canada (4-0-1) was second in the Stockholm pool with 13 points behind unbeaten Switzerland with 14 points. The Swiss booked their ticket to Thursday's quarter-finals with a 4-1 win over Denmark.

Sweden was third with 12 points following a 2-0 win over Slovenia. The Czech Republic (2-2-1) dropped to fifth after Norway beat Belarus 3-1 on Saturday.

Finland topped the Helsinki pool with 14 points followed by the United States with 12, Russia at nine and Slovakia with seven.

Mike Smith rotates back into Canada's net today for his third start of the tournament after a win and a shootout loss. The Canadians expect to see Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec in the Czech net.

Eighteen of the Canadian players have an NHL teammate on the Czech team. The world bronze medallists the last two years lost to the Swedes and the Swiss and needed a shootout to get by Denmark in the preliminary round.

"Obviously with the talent they've had, they've probably played a little bit under par," Ruff said. "I think this is a big game for them and I think they're going to treat it that way."

Yzerman, who arrived in Stockholm two days ago, heads the management group that will choose Canada's coaches and players for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The Tampa Bay Lightning general manager had the same role for the 2010 men's team that won gold in Vancouver.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said following a meeting with the International ice Hockey Federation in Stockholm that the league is proceeding on the assumption its players will participate in a fifth Winter Games. Yzerman is operating on that assumption as well.

"We've started from Day 1 with the approach it will eventually get done and the NHL players will be there," he said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2013 B5

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