The AP’s Larry Lage spoke with Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Justin Abdelkader regarding the World Cup of Hockey, a tournament that gets underway tomorrow as training camps begin across North America and Europe:
The eight-team, two-week tournament event will be held in Toronto, where the host Canadians will likely be a strong favourite against a field that includes the U.S., Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic along with 23-and-under players from North America and European countries such as Switzerland, Slovenia and Germany.
“I think you’ve got to be ready a little bit quicker to be at an elite level,” Sharks and Canadian defenceman Brent Burns said.
The U.S. will open the competition against Team Europe on Sept. 17 and the Canada will face the Czechs later that night at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ arena, where all the games will be played. The Americans upset Canada in the first World Cup of Hockey in 1996, and the Canadians beat Finland eight years later.
Exhibition games will be held this week in Finland, Russia, Canada, Sweden and in the U.S.
“We’re going to go from 0 to 100 mph right away,” Detroit Red Wings and Team USA forward Justin Abdelkader said. “Knock on wood, no one gets injured, and they’ll be in great shape to help their NHL teams.”