Colorado Avalanche Players Likely to Play in IIHF World Championship


It’s that time of year — certain teams are preparing to play spring hockey and others are preparing to store their hockey equipment until their off-season training regimen begins.

A few NHL players, though, get invitations to play for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship, which starts May 1. This is an honor, of sorts. The players selected are the best of the best-ish — they’re the best of the best who didn’t make the playoffs, or go far anyway.

According to Twitter-folk, Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene has already accepted his invitation:

Denver Post writer Mike Chambers doesn’t confirm that — he just says he’s been told Duchene is on the roster. Could be he has the same source, though presumably he’s got a few more contacts. According to Chambers, centers Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon along with defenseman Tyson Barrie are also likely to play for Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship.

Duchene has represented Canada in a number of IIHF championships. He won a gold medal in 2008 as part of the U-18 team. He also played in the 2010, 2011 and 2013 IIHF World Championships. Of course, for international play, Duchene is also known for having won a gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

MacKinnon played for Team Canada last year in the IIHF World Championship, and he also represented Canada in the 2013 World Junior Championship. However, MacKinnon sat out the last five weeks of the regular season with a fractured foot and only just started skating Friday, April 3. He could be game-ready by the May 1st start, though.

O’Reilly represented Canada in the 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Championships. Barrie earned a silver medal with Canada in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, also a medalist (silver) in Sochi for Team Sweden, also received an invitation. According to Chambers, Landeskog will accept pending his exit meeting and physical with the team. He was invited last year but declined due to a wrist issue — the same wrist issue is proposed as a possible problem for this year’s championship.

Besides winning silver in Sochi (and acting as an alternate captain), Landeskog helped Sweden win gold in the 2013 IIHF World Championship. He served as alternate captain for Team Sweden in the 2012 IIHF World Championship and the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. He also represented Sweden in the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and wore the ‘C’ as captain for Sweden’s under-16, under-17, and under-18 teams.

Ok, suffice it to say, Landeskog has repped Sweden a lot.

Speaking of players who have represented their country a lot in international competitions, defenseman Erik Johnson is a notable omission from that list. Johnson’s international resume just about rivals Landeskog’s:

  • Gold medal with Team USA at the 2005 World Under-18 Championships
  • Gold medal at 2006 IIHF World Under-18 Championships
  •  2006 IIHF World Junior Championship
  • 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden, w named the tournament’s “Best Defenseman”
  • 2007 IIHF World Championship
  • Bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championship

Of course, Johnson also has a silver medal, having helped Team USA earn that honor in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Johnson missed the second half of the season after undergoing a knee scoping procedure on January 26. It’s possible the team or the player himself would not consider him game-ready even by May 1.

Even though it means the Avs didn’t make the playoffs, we’re going to consider it a great honor that our players have been invited to compete on an international level.

Next: Guide to Western Conference First Round of Playoffs

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