Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tavares Says Combos Help Players Decipher Roles on Star-Laden Canadian Team

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tavares Says Combos Help Players Decipher Roles on Star-Laden Canadian Team

Article excerpt

Team Canada offers first look at line combos


OTTAWA - Tyler Seguin didn't know what to expect from Mike Babcock's line combinations at the start of World Cup of Hockey training camp on Monday.

Absent Jamie Benn, his usual running mate in Dallas who pulled out with an injury, Seguin wondered if he'd have to slide over from his usual spot at centre and line up on the wing.

"Honestly, I had no idea, not a clue," Seguin said.

The 24-year-old ended up at right wing alongside Jonathan Toews and Logan Couture, one of four intriguing combos for Canada.

Sidney Crosby was paired with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, who often finds his way to Crosby's side at international tournaments. Steven Stamkos and John Tavares, two former No. 1 overall picks, were centred by Ryan Getzlaf while 37-year-old Joe Thornton lined up with Matt Duchene and Claude Giroux.

The first edition on defence saw Marc-Edouard Vlasic step into a void left by Duncan Keith (right knee injury), manning the left side alongside Shea Weber. Vlasic's partner at the 2014 Olympics, Drew Doughty, was paired with his Los Angeles Kings teammate Jake Muzzin. Alex Pietrangelo, meanwhile, shifted from right defence to left on a pair with Brent Burns.

Babcock said he gathered prospective lineups from each member of Canada's management team as well as the four other coaches. He snapped a picture of those lineups for memories before proceeding with his own designs.

"What I like to do is I like to gather all the information," Babcock said. "In the end someone's got to decide."

The combinations will inevitably change, perhaps even before the group plays its first exhibition game against the United States on Friday.

Seguin, who missed out on a spot with the 2014 Sochi squad, said he watched that tournament and saw how often things shuffled around. He wondered whether he might find himself paired at some point with Bergeron and Marchand, his former linemates with the Boston Bruins. …

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