The rumours have been flying for a couple days now, fueled by Carolina Hurricanes fans who saw the announcement live on air (Fox Sports Net South), but there is now official print confirmation. Eric Staal, Justin Williams, Mike Commodore, and Cam Ward have accepted Team Canada's invitation to play in the World Championship. Rod Brind'Amour declined due to injury.
This is another coup for Team Canada. So far we have what I would say is the ideal goalie combination with Roloson and Ward, a defensive group with someone I think most would have said was a long shot but I believed would be an excellent contributor in Mike Commodore, with stalwart Eric Brewer, and a forward group that includes Staal, Nash and Doan(maybe linemates) and Cammalari and Williams.
The fact that the Sens and Penguins are playing eachother first round could lead to another Canadian bonanza. If Ottawa loses, count on Spezza and/or Heatley getting an invite. If the Pens lose, watch for Crosby and Staal to get an invite. Crosby was a singlehanded force last year in the World Championships, and his addition could mean big things for the team.
I'm still expecting Patrice Bergeron to get and accept an invite (although one never knows with injuries), but I think maybe one more major coup offensive coup be scored by Team Canada. If the Avs do not make the postseason, I think there is a potential Joe Sakic could be invited and accept. This would be the first year since (at least) 1994 that he hasn't played at all in the postseason, so he could be motivated. Combine that with the fact he implied Team Canada's younger players didn't understand what kind of sacrifice/effort it took to win a major tournament like the Olympics, and he could be highly motivated to lead this young group by example. It's definately a longshot, but I think Brendan Shanahan might've started a trend last year by being an older player with nothing owing to Team Canada going over to Europe and playing.
Exciting times for Team Canada for sure.