Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, defenceman Luke Schenn, and goalie James Reimer have accepted invitations to join Team Canada for the World Championships.
"It's an honour to be invited and to have that opportunity to represent Canada," Phaneuf said Monday. "Last time I was there it was in Moscow (in 2007) and we won. It was a lot of fun to be part of that tournament. I'm looking forward to going over there and trying to win a gold medal."
A fourth member of the team might also play for Canada, as forward Clarke MacArthur is on standby.
Leafs forward Phil Kessel said he received an invitation from the American squad but has decided against playing.
"I'm just going to take a break," said Kessel. "It's been a long year, a grind. Obviously, I love playing for my country, I've played in three worlds, so I'm just going to take a break, relax, go home and take a couple weeks off."
Phaneuf raised the level of his game over the last month. Since the All-Star break, no player has averaged more minutes in the Eastern Conference than the 25-year-old. Through 66 games, he's posted eight goals and 22 assists; 17 of those points in the last twenty-six games.
Schenn, the third-year defenceman from Saskatoon, registered five goals and 22 points with a minus-7 on the season.
"Obviously, your first goal is to be in the NHL playoffs but secondly if you can continue playing and represent your country, that's obviously a good option as well," said Schenn.
The 23-year-old Reimer finished his rookie campaign with a record of 20-10-5, 2.60 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 games.
Despite a late surge, the Maple Leafs finished eight points out of a playoff place in the East.
The world championship starts on April 29, with the gold-medal game on May 15. Canada opens the tournament against Belarus.