Canada’s coaching staff will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from when it forms line combinations for the IIHF world hockey championship in Halifax.
As of now, 100-point man Eric Staal is centring playmaker Jason Spezza and former Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis on the top line, while the second line projects to have 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley and former Rocket Richard Trophy winner Rick Nash flanking power forward Ryan Getzlaf.
Jonathan Toews, Shane Doan and Chris Kunitz have been skating as the third line, but nothing is set in stone.
“You can put names on paper and find there’s no chemistry,” said assistant general manager Doug Armstrong. “Then, by dumb luck, you put two guys together and find great chemistry. We’ll let the players sort it out, but when you have that many good players fighting for a common goal, it’s going to work out.”
Canada opens the tournament on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Metro Centre against Anze Kopitar-led Slovenia.
>> Canada lost 4-1 to Russia in an exhibition game last night in Quebec City. Defenceman Brent Burns scored and was player of the game, while Cam Ward started in goal.
Nash is still recovering from throat surgery and didn’t play, but is hoping to be ready by Friday. Defencemen Dan Hamhuis and Mike Green have yet to join the squad.
>> Ward will share the bulk of the goaltending duties with former Halifax Mooseheads stopper Pascal Leclaire, but may have the edge when it comes to who gets the big-game nod. Ward started in last year’s gold-medal-game victory.
Canada searching for chemistry
Canada’s coaching staff will have an embarrassment of riches to choosefrom when it forms line combinations for the IIHF world hockeychampionship in Halifax.