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World Cup

Team Canada's Blake learning on job

Assistant GM helped pick initial World Cup roster to be revealed Wednesday

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

DENVER -- Rob Blake has been doing as much learning as he has been scouting in his role as an assistant general manager for Team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Blake is the only one of the five NHL executives working to select Canada's roster who doesn't currently run his own NHL team. He is the assistant GM of the Los Angeles Kings.

General manager Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues) and fellow assistant GMs Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), Bob Murray (Anaheim Ducks) and Marc Bergevin (Montreal Canadiens) have been colleagues and mentors for Blake throughout the process, which began when Team Canada's management team was announced June 22.

The first 16 players for each of the eight teams competing in the World Cup of Hockey will be revealed Wednesday. The tournament runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 with all games in Toronto.

"It's good to watch Kenny and Doug and Bob and Marc, the way they work," Blake said. "We probably met four or five times since the summer to revise our lists, go over scouting lists and everything. With some of us, like Bob Murray and I, we see a lot of the Western teams. We had the first 16 players narrowed down, pretty much what will be announced, for the last month, except for maybe one or two guys who have been in and out based on injuries."

aBlake said picking the first 16 players has been the easy part. He expects the selection process for the final seven, who have to be named by June 1, will be far more difficult.

"You want to watch playoffs," Blake said. "The younger players who haven't been on Olympic teams, you want to see them in those atmospheres."

Blake confirmed that many of the players who won gold with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, some of whom were also gold-medal winners at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, will represent Team Canada again in Toronto.

Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Marleau, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Roberto Luongo played in each of the previous Olympic tournaments. Crosby, Getzlaf, Perry, Toews, Doughty, Keith and Weber are favorites to be named to Team Canada's World Cup roster on Wednesday.

"It'll be very similar to the past two Olympics," Blake said. "With [Mike] Babcock coming back as coach, Holland and Doug being involved in both Olympics, the core of those players will still be involved. There will be some turnover, but the core will still be there."

Blake knows of one issue that Canada will have to deal with at the World Cup that wasn't necessarily a problem in either Sochi or Vancouver.

"We'll have exhibitions in Ottawa and we're based out of Toronto, so you know you're going to have to handle that," he said. "With the Olympics you can isolate your players. I know from being in the Olympics you go to the village and that's it. We're not going to get that at the World Cup."

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