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World Cup

Blackhawks to be well-represented at World Cup

Nine players, including Crawford, selected for tournament

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane was almost a certainty to be among the first 16 players included on the United States roster at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, but the NHL's leading scorer still wanted to see it for himself.

Prior to helping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-2 win at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday with a goal and two assists, Kane made sure to take a peek at his phone.

"I think it was about 6:45 or 6:50 [p.m.], I was stretching out and then after that I had to go check my phone to see if I got the nod or not," Kane said. "It was exciting to see that."

Kane has played for the U.S. in the Olympics twice and has represented his country in the IIHF World Junior Championship and the IIHF World Championship. The World Cup will be something new for Kane, who is looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.

"It's going to be one of those tournaments that might be some of the best hockey ever played," Kane said. "Considering players are going to have a couple months off, you're going to come in and have a week to get ready for the tournament, and guys will be flying, coming right off the summer. So, I'm very honored I can play for the United States and happy to see my name called there."

Kane was one of nine Blackhawks chosen Wednesday to play in the tournament.

Captain Jonathan Toews, defenseman Duncan Keith and goalie Corey Crawford were picked to play for Canada, with Crawford chosen to represent his country for the first time in his career.

Forwards Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin will play for Russia, right wing Marian Hossa will represent Team Europe, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will play for Sweden and forward Teuvo Teravainen will play for Finland.

"It's a long ways away," said Toews, who won a gold medal with Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. "It's exciting to think about it a little bit right now, but I think we're going into an important time with our season. Our focus is obviously on the playoffs coming up, but I think once we get there, once you're prepared for it and you're in that moment taking part in that event, that will be a cool experience no doubt."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will be an assistant coach for Canada, which means he will miss a chunk of training camp along with the majority of Chicago's core group of players. He doesn't seem too concerned.

"I'm honored, privileged and looking forward to it," Quenneville said. "Looking at the rosters, it looks like there are some really good teams and it'll be great hockey."

It was an important personal achievement for Crawford, who'd been passed over routinely for international events in the past. He has won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, has won the Williams M. Jennings Trophy twice as the starting goalie of the NHL team that allows the fewest goals, but is eager to pull on a jersey with Canada's famed maple leaf crest.

When he does, it will make for a memorable photo for Crawford and his family.

"At Christmas time, it was always the world juniors that you'd watch when we were younger," said Crawford, who made 31 saves against the Red Wings and earned his 34th win Wednesday to set a career high. "My brother and our cousins, we'd watch that every year at Christmas, and [we'd watch] the Olympics and World Cups, too. Those were all huge tournaments growing up."

Video: Corey Crawford on Team Canada nod

This fall, he might get a chance to start a game or two in international competition.

"It's a great honor to be named," Crawford said. "It's definitely an elite group to that team and to have a chance, that's awesome. I've been trying to make that team for a while. It's nice to be named." 

Crawford already threw down a challenge to Kane, as well. When asked what it will be like to have Kane shooting against him in a game that counts, rather than in practice, Crawford smirked.

"I'd love that," he said. "Bring it on."

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