Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Surprises dot final World Cup rosters

Penguins forward Phil Kessel won't be representing the United States in the World Cup, and 18-year-old Auston Matthews, expected to be the top pick in next month's draft, was among Team North America's final selections Friday.

The Czech Republic couldn't convince Jaromir Jagr to compete. And the NHL is questioning Russia for adding defenseman Slava Voynov in light of the domestic violence charges that ended his career with the Kings.

There were several surprise additions and omissions when the eight teams revealed the final seven additions to their 23-player rosters for the tournament Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto.

The most notable came when Russia included Voynov, who remains suspended indefinitely by the NHL. Voynov pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and voluntarily returned to Russia to play in the KHL last summer.

"We will obviously have to review his status with the Players Association prior to the start of the tournament," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "It is not my current expectation that this player will be deemed eligible to play in the World Cup of Hockey."

The union, which is co-hosting the World Cup with the NHL, said it would review Voynov's status with the league.

Kessel is a two-time Olympian and 10-year NHL veteran who was passed over despite having a strong postseason in which he's leading the Stanley Cup final-bound Penguins with nine goals and 18 points.

Jagr's omission wasn't a surprise. Jagr, 44, retired from the national team after last year's World Championship. But Czech Republic general manager Martin Rucinsky and coach Josef Jandac had hoped Jagr would change his mind after leading the Panthers with 66 points (27 goals) in 79 games this season.

Matthews' selection to Team North America, for players 23 and younger, comes after he led the fourth-place-finishing Americans with seven goals and 11 points at the World Championship this month.

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