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Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis to play for Canada at world championships

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Lightning RW Marty St. Louis' face has been battered by three pucks this season. His current black eye is courtesy of a stick blade. A skate gashed his nose and forehead.

If anyone is in need of a break after the season, it is the Lightning's leading points scorer and minutes muncher. But St. Louis said he will play for Canada in the world championships April 24-May 10 in Switzerland.

"It's an experience to play with some of the best players," St. Louis said. "You always can benefit from that."

LW Ryan Malone (United States) said he hasn't been formally invited but sounded ready to play. C Steven Stamkos (Canada) said he has had discussions with team officials, though nothing is set. RW Martins Karsums (Latvia) is on board, coach Rick Tocchet said. D Lukas Krajicek (Czech Republic) said he is unsure because of bumps and bruises, and G Karri Ramo (Finland) is headed for at least a tryout camp.

Tocchet said he favors participation because it exposes players to a higher-tempo game. But it also exposes them to injury. C Jeff Halpern blew out his knee last year playing for the United States.

Even so, Halpern said playing "is a pretty special thing to do."

Added Malone: "It's a chance to represent your country and become a better hockey player. It's definitely a privilege."

SEEING STAMKOS: Stamkos had played 3 minutes, 4 seconds in short-handed situations entering Saturday. Against the Islanders, he played 2:17. "You just want to see what he can do," Tocchet said. "He did a pretty good job."

He was not on the ice for either of New York's power-play goals.

TRENDING UP: Karsums scored his first NHL goal Friday against the Devils and put on a tutorial.

"What he did is exactly the play I'm looking for," Tocchet said. "He protects the puck, he blocks everybody, he buys time, he hits a trailer and goes right to the net and gets an open-net goal. That's the kind of stuff we are craving."

Karsums was slow to integrate after coming from Boston in the Mark Recchi deal last month. "Systemwise I was struggling," he said. "Now it's coming along pretty good. Just go out there and play 100 percent and do whatever the coaches ask (me) to do."

As for scoring on Martin Brodeur, Karsums said, "You'll remember that all your life."

ODDS AND ENDS: With injuries Friday to F Ryan Craig (upper body) and Josef Melichar (lower body), Tampa Bay recalled C Zenon Konopka and D Vladi­mir Mihalik from AHL Norfolk. … D Richard Petiot (shoulder) also was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis to play for Canada at world championships 04/04/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 5, 2009 8:43am]

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