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Smyth, Myers, Del Zotto, Laich added to Canada's Worlds roster

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The Canadian Press
4/29/2010 4:16:07 PM
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Captain Canada is heading back to the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Ryan Smyth was one of four players added to the Canadian team by general manager Mark Messier on Thursday. The veteran Los Angeles Kings forward will be appearing in his eighth world championship -- and first since 2005.

The tournrmanent will see Smyth reunited with Craig MacTavish, his long-time coach in Edmonton.

"I'm really excited about it," MacTavish said in an interview. "You never know in this game whether you'll get that opportunity again. When you do get the chance to work with players you've had a lot of respect for over the years, it's sure welcome."

Smyth will be joined on the team by Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and a pair of rookie defencemen -- Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres and Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers.

Messier will be taking a young group to Germany that features six players who are 20 or under. Myers and Del Zotto join young forwards Steven Stamkos, Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Evander Kane.

Smyth will be one of the veteran players counted on to lead the team. He won world championship gold with Canada in 2003 and 2004 and Olympic gold at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

"I thought with the makeup of the team and the youth in the team, he'll be real valuable," said MacTavish. "The leadership and experience that he's had at these tournaments, he can pass on valuable insights to the young players.

"It is a little bit different of an animal than we're used to in the NHL."

Smyth can also chip in offensively. The 34-year-old from Banff, Alta., had 22 goals and 53 points in 67 games for the Kings this season.

Laich joins the Canadian team less than 24 hours after his Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs. He made headlines for stopping to help a woman change a flat tire following Wednesday's Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

The native of Wawota, Sask., had a career-best 25 goals and 59 points this season.

The six-foot-seven Myers is a finalist for the Calder Trophy after putting up 11 goals and 48 points in 82 regular-season games with the Sabres.

The 20-year-old is a dual citizen because he was born in Houston and moved to Calgary when he was 10. He made the decision to play internationally for Canada as a junior.

Del Zotto appeared in 80 games for the Rangers this season, putting up nine goals and 37 points. The 19-year-old is from Stouffville, Ont.

Messier has been busy working the phones, trying to fill out his roster. He currently has 20 confirmed players -- seven defencemen, 12 forwards and one goaltender.

The players are scheduled to fly to Europe over the weekend and will play an exhibition game on May 4.

Canada opens the world championship with a game against Italy on May 8 in Mannheim, Germany.

Ryan Smyth  (Photo: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Photo: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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