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World Cup

Notebook: Shea Weber vital to Team Canada

John Tavares intrigued by Team North America; Logan Couture clears air

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Team Canada coach Mike Babcock left little doubt Tuesday about how important defenseman Shea Weber for the team at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

"Just physically, he's a man mountain. When he looks at you, you know [it's] business," Babcock said of the 6-foot-4, 236 pound Montreal Canadiens defenseman. "He's as good a human being as I've ever been around, period. So he doesn't have to say much; all he's got to [do] is look at you and you snap into shape. He makes you a better coach.

"If you haven't been crosschecked in the ribs by him, you find out what that is too. He cuts a big swath out there. He shoots it so hard no one wants to stand in his lane. But what I like about him best is when he walks in the dressing room, you know it's business, and so he's a culture-type person. He makes your franchise better when he walks in the door, bar none."

TAVARES CURIOUS: Like a lot of hockey fans, Team Canada forward John Tavares is looking forward to seeing how Team North America, made up of players 23 years old and younger from the United States and Canada.

"Nobody really knows. Nobody's ever seen anything like it before. It's really intriguing," Tavares, 26 on Sept. 20, said. "It's caused a lot of questions and a lot of pondering about what they're going to be like. There's a handful of guys who could easily play for Canada or the U.S., that's how talented they are. They are very deserving. I don't think any team is going to take them lightly."

Video: Toews, Team Canada on pressures of the WCH 2016

Tavares said he could remember how motivated he was at that age when he got a chance to show what he could do on the world stage.

"They've got the best players in the world whether they're 18, 19 years old. They are going to be excited," the New York Islanders captain said. "I remember being that young, any opportunity, whether it was playing in the NHL or when I played in the World Championship, just those opportunities to get your feet wet. You're always jumping at the bit to go out there and prove yourself and play at this level, so I'm sure they are going to be as competitive as any team in the tournament."

FRIENDS, FOR NOW: San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture engaged in some mind games and trash talking during the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a couple of players who became Team Canada teammates. He had some back and forth with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and accused Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins of cheating on faceoffs after Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Couture said he was trying to deflect attention away from the Sharks' plight, and he and Crosby have since cleared the air.

"No hard feelings," Couture said. "[Crosby] understood what we were fighting for. We were down 2-0.

"Everyone in here is enemies when it comes to a month from now (when the NHL season begins). You're going to be teammates, you're going to get along, and after that you play for separate teams."

Video: Keith, Toews, Stamkos share international memories

As far as his relationship with Doughty (they skate together during the summer), Couture said, "We're friends. Ask him. I think we are."

SEGUIN SICK: Forward Tyler Seguin was absent from practice Tuesday because of illness.

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