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Sens captain Tkachuk will play for USA at Worlds; Pinto hopes to join roster

Ottawa Senators Brady Tkachuk - The Canadian Press

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk will play for Team USA at the upcoming World Hockey Championships, reports TSN's Claire Hannah.

"We haven't won gold since 1933 or something like that. So to be able to play in May and learn to handle the games in May was something that was important to me. I'm excited to represent my country," Tkachuk said on Thursday.

Tkachuk last represented the USA internationally at the 2017-18 World Junior Championships, where he recorded three goals and six assists in nine games.

The 24-year-old scored a career-high 37 goals this season, adding 37 assists for 74 points in 81 games. The Senators had a disappointing season, finishing 26th in the league with a 37-41-4 record. Tkachuk called the season frustrating at this morning's exit interviews because the team "“didn’t take steps forward, [it[ took steps back.”

“We’re playing a sport for a living but there’s so much pride in our team that for things to not go well it was tough for me mentally," he added. "There were days that weren’t fun. Every days in years past it’s been fun to come to the rink but there were moments when it was difficult to come when things weren’t going well.

“What hurts the most is not being able to live out your dream and do your job for a long period of time.”

Tkachuk will join Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield, who confirmed his participation in the tournament on Wednesday.

Sanderson to play, Pinto hopes to play at Worlds

Sens defenceman Jake Sanderson will also head to the Worlds to represent the USA.

“I’m excited to go, I want to play meaningful games.”

The 21-year-old had 10 goals and 38 points in 79 games, his second season in the NHL. The Whitefish, Montana native says he wants to show his loyalty to USA Hockey and that the years in Michigan  “were some of the best years of my life and it's a lot of the same staff and people on that team going to Czech so I'm excited to go.”

Senators forward Shane Pinto also said he wants to join USA at the World Championships.

"It's a good opportunity for me to play more games only playing 41 this year," he said Thursday.

The 23-year-old posted nine goals and 27 points in 41 games after missing the first half of the season while serving a suspension for violating the league's gambling policy.