Pavelski among five Sharks named to World Cup of Hockey rosters

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SAN JOSE: The Sharks will have several of their players competing in the World Cup of Hockey this fall. Few will be as motivated as Joe Pavelski.

Pavelski joins Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joonas Donskoi, Tomas Hertl and Roman Polak as Sharks players who were chosen Wednesday to represent their respective countries at the World Cup, which runs September 17 to October 1 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto.

Vlasic, 28, was named to Team Canada. Donskoi, 23, was named to Team Finland and Hertl, 22, and Polak, 29, were among the players named to Team Czech Republic.

Each of the eight teams that will play in the tournament had to select at least 16 players by Wednesday. The remainder of the 23-man rosters will be named by June 1.


The 31-year-old Pavelski and Team USA won silver at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver but finished fourth in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where the Americans lost 1-0 in the semifinals to Canada, and lost 5-0 to Finland in the bronze medal game.

With another opportunity to play in a best-on-best tournament, Pavelski wants to make sure he and his American teammates take full advantage.

“Sochi, we were rolling and it didn’t happen,” Pavelski said. “Definitely a letdown at the end. Those tournaments go so fast and they don’t come around very often and so when you can get the chance to win, you have to really seize it and we’ve let a couple slip so far.

“The guys that are going to be there, it’s time to win.”

Pavelski is seventh in the NHL in scoring this season with 61 points and is third among all American players, behind just Patrick Kane (85) and Johnny Gaudreau (63). He was one of nine forwards named to the American roster, joining Kane, Justin Abdelkader, Ryan Kesler, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Derek Stepan and Blake Wheeler.

The Americans also named four defensemen — Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Suter. Their three goalies are Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick and Cory Schneider.

“It’s a cool event that’s coming back and I think a lot of players are excited for it,” Pavelski said. “Seeing a little bit of a buzz today with the guys that got named to it already. It’s exciting. It’s one of those events when you get a chance to play for your country, it’s one of special occurrences and it’s definitely a big honor.”

Vlasic, who won gold for Canada in Sochi, was one of four defensemen named to the Canadian roster, joining Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty.

Canada will need to name three more defensemen, and the Sharks’ Brent Burns remains in the mix. He enters Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks with 54 points, second most in the NHL for a defensemen. His 21 goals lead all blueliners.

Vlasic, 28, is having a typically steady season as the Sharks’ most reliable defensive-defenseman. But he’s also having the best offensive season of his career with 37 points in 59 games.

“Every time you can represent your country, it’s huge honor,” Vlasic said. “To do it on the biggest stages is even better.”

In his first full season of hockey in North America, Donskoi has 27 points — tied for 12th among all rookies — in 57 games.

Hertl, in his third year with the Sharks, is having his best season as a professional with 33 points in 61 games. He scored his 15th goal of the season on Sunday in Vancouver, matching his career high from 2013-14.

Polak has played in two world junior championships, two world championships and one Olympics, in 2010.

“It’s a great honor to represent your country anytime and to be one of the 20 best players in the world for your country is exceptional,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “You can see why they’re so valuable here for us.”

DeBoer said new goalie James Reimer will meet the Sharks in Vancouver. Reimer will not play against the Canucks with Martin Jones getting his 10th straight start in goal. DeBoer said he’d like Reimer to get on the ice with his new team Thursday morning and in practice on Friday before deciding who he’ll start Saturday at home against Vancouver.

DeBoer said Tommy Wingels is progressing from an upper body injury but is not ready to play. Wingels skated again Wednesday at the Sharks’ practice facility. Matt Tennyson (upper body) is not skating yet.

TNS

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