With the Devils not making the playoffs their players are eligible to be named to the rosters of their respective countries. The 2013 IIHF World Hockey Championship is going to be held in Sweeden and Finland from May 3 – May 19. Four Devils were named to the Championships today.
Ilya Kovalchuk was the most renowned Devils player to get selected. The Russian sniper has played in the tournament before and will help the Russians repeat as champions. The Russians won gold in 2012 with a 6-2 win over Slovakia. It will not be easy for the Russians to repeat because they are missing key players like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Semin, and Pavel Datsyuk.
Joining Kovalchuk on the Russian roster is fellow Devil Andrei Loktionov. It is Loktionov’s first Championship and will make an impact on the team. Other NHL players on the Russian squad include Ilya Bryzgalov and Artem Anisimov.
Other players named to rosters are Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta, who were both named to the United States’ team. This is great news for two players who are not top-notch players in the NHL, but they sure do work hard. Their toughness and work ethics definitely attracted scouts and coaches for the United States.
One player not named to a roster shocked me, and that is Andy Greene. Greene was a great defenseman for the Devils this year and deserves to be team MVP. Why was he not named to the United States team is beyond me. But that is how it goes sometimes.
David Clarkson was not named to team Canada. However, I am not sure if he did not want to play or just was not selected, but I cannot imagine Canada not wanting Clarkson to play for them.
Patrik Elias ruled out playing in the tournament during the regular season because he does not have an NHL contract. If he had a contract with the Devils, Elias would have strongly considered playing for the Czech Republic.
Without playoff hockey in New Jersey, the Devils players need some way to play the game they love, and this is a great way to do just that.