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Friendly rivals warm up for worlds

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Peter Regin and Denmark faced off against Senators teammate Jarkko Ruutu and Finland at the 2009 World Hockey Championship in Switzerland. Today, Regin will take on good friend Erik Karlsson of the Senators when Sweden and Denmark meet in a warmup game for the 2010 worlds in Geramny (Martin Rose/Bongarts).
They became fast friends during their rookie seasons with the Ottawa Senators.

But for one day, at least, defenceman Erik Karlsson and centre Peter Regin suited up for opposing sides during a national team matchup today in Angelholm, Sweden. It was an exhibition game for the host Tre Kronor and Denmark as both countries ramp up for the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship, which begins Friday in Germany.

Today's game, which saw the Swedes post a 10-3 victory, marked the national team debut for Karlsson, the Senators' top pick (15th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The swift blueliner, who racked up five goals and 21 assists during his debut season in Ottawa, was a standout for the silver-medal winning Swedish team at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship held in the nation's capital. He was named the top defenceman in that tournament and a first-team all-star.

Regin, meanwhile, was arguably the Senators' best player during their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring three goals and adding an assist. During the regular season, he produced 13 goals and 16 assists.

National team duty is old hat for the 24-year-old Regin, one of six Danes who saw National Hockey League action during the 2009-10 season. This will be his sixth straight appearance for Denmark at the world championship.

"We don't have too many players and mostly it's the same guys (at the worlds)," he told earlier this season. "We're all good friends and we've played together for many years. Coming home at the end of the year and playing for the national team is always fun. Whenever I have the chance, I will play for Denmark."

The Swedes, who were bronze medallists at the 2009 worlds in Switzerland, will be grouped with the Czech Republic, Norway and France in Mannheim. Denmark is based in Cologne along with Finland, the United States and host Germany. The Americans' roster includes forward Nick Foligno of the Senators.

Sweden sees its first tournament action on Sunday against Norway, while Denmark faces off against Finland on Saturday. The world championship opens Friday in Gelsenkirchen, with the U.S. and Germany meeting at the Veltins-Arena, a soccer stadium with a retractable roof. The game is already sold out and will draw a world-record hockey audience of 76,152.

Team USA named its captains today, with Foligno chosen as one of four players to wear the 'A' as alternate captain, along with Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings, Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders and Eric Nystrom of the Calgary Flames. The Kings' Jack Johnson was awarded the captain's 'C.'

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