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4 Preds Set To Join Teams For 2012 World Championships

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Preds forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn have both agreed to join Team Belarus for the 2012 World Championships, while Martin Erat is expected to join the Czech Republic squad and defenseman Roman Josi is expected to join Team Switzerland. Craig Smith was added to Team USA's roster earlier in the day, while prospect Antti Pihlstrom is with Team Finland. Prospect Mattias Ekholm is with Team Sweden, but has yet to be registered for the tournament; Ekholm recorded one assist in Sweden's pre-tournament exhibition match.

Erat led the Preds with 58 points during the regular season, while Sergei Kostitsyn scored 17 goals and 43 points. Andrei Kostitsyn scored 16 goals and 36 points split between the Preds and Montreal Canadiens, with 4 goals and 12 points coming in the 19 games after he was traded to Nashville.

Josi opened the season in the AHL, but earned a recall at Thanksgiving and scored 5 goals and 16 points in 52 games during his NHL debut season.

Belarus is 1-2-0 through its first three games in Group H at this year's tournament, dropping a 1-0 decision to Finland in the tournament opener for both teams, before falling 3-2 to Switzerland and edging Kazakhstan 3-2. Belarus next plays tomorrow (Thursday) against Team USA, followed by games against Slovakia (Saturday), France (Monday) and Canada (Tuesday). The top four teams from both eight-team groups will advance to the Quarterfinals.

Czech Republic is 2-1-0 during its first three games in Group S this tournament, beating Denmark 3-2 and Norway 4-3 in a shootout, sandwiched around a 4-1 loss to Sweden. The Czechs play Latvia on Thursday, Italy on Friday, Russia on Sunday and Germany on Tuesday.

Switzerland is 2-2-0 in its first four games in Group H with wins over Kazakhstan (5-1) and Belarus (3-2), before falling to Finland and Canada by identical 3-2 scores. The Swiss face France on Saturday, Slovakia on Sunday and USA on Tuesday.

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