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MALKIN, STAAL, GONCHAR TO PLAY IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Saturday, 04.21.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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MALKIN, STAAL, GONCHAR TO PLAY IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
The hockey season will go on for some Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar will represent their countries at the IIHF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, at the end of the month.

Malkin and Gonchar will represent the home country, which opens play April 27 against Denmark.

“Evgeni is excited about playing in Russia at the World Championship. He has family coming to Moscow to see him,” Gonchar said. “He is playing at home in front of his home country and fans. His family is coming and his friends are coming, so it’s such a big thing for him.”

Malkin led all NHL rookies in scoring with 85 points (33+52).

Meanwhile, Gonchar finished second in scoring among NHL defensemen with 67 points (13+54). It matched his career high.

Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins
Staal, only 18, is eager to represent Team Canada in Russia.

“I am really excited to play,” he said. “There’s no question about it. I’d love to be a part of Team Canada and I am definitely honored being named to it. I am really excited.”

Staal will join his brother, Eric, on the Team Canada roster.

“I already knew he was going. It’s kind of neat,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

Staal is eager to experience international competition at such a high level.

“I really don’t know what kind of role I am getting thrown in yet,” he said. “I am obviously expecting to win. We’ll see what happens.”

He is looking forward to playing against Malkin and Gonchar in the tournament.

Jordan Staal Pittsburgh Penguins
“I was talking to Geno this morning about playing against each other. He said he’s ready for me,” Staal said. “It should be a lot of fun. It’s not going to be easy out there. Hopefully, I am ready for it.”

Staal tallied 42 points (29+13) in 81 games for the Penguins. He scored seven short-handed goals – an NHL rookie record. He is looking forward to the extra experience he will gain in Moscow.

“I think I will be fine. It’s been a long season, but there’s no question about it – I want to go,” he said. “I am really happy that I got selected.”

Ronald Petrovicky (Slovakia) and Jarkko Ruutu (Finland) are candidates to play for their respective countries, but neither had received word. The same applies to Marc-Andre Fleury (Canada).

 

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