Rangers well-represented at Worlds
Stepan, McDonagh, Kreider on U.S. roster; Gaborik to play for Slovakia
Rangers forward Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh might have seen their first NHL seasons end with the Blueshirts' exit from the playoffs on Saturday, but it wasn't the end of hockey for either player in 2010-11.
On Tuesday, USA Hockey announced that Stepan and McDonagh will play on the U.S. squad competing in this year's IIHF World Championship tournament in Slovakia. The two American Rangers join the Blueshirts' 2009 first-round draft pick Chris Kreider on Team USA, which opens play against Austria on Saturday at Kosice. The Americans will compete in Group C of the tournament, playing round-robin games against Austria, Norway, and Sweden.
Kreider is returning to the World Championships, having made the team as a 19-year-old last spring. Last year, he was the only NCAA player on the roster, while this year, he is one of two. Once again, he will have a pair of Rangers as teammates. Last year, Kreider was joined by Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Gilroy at the Worlds, which were held in Germany.
One of the biggest names in this year's World Championship tournament will also come from the Rangers. Forward Marian Gaborik goes home to Slovakia to represent the host nation, which begins play against Slovenia on Friday. With Slovaks paying so much attention to this tournament as they look to win gold on home soil, Gaborik will carry the hopes of his country over the next few weeks.
The Slovaks won the World Championship gold medal in 2002. Slovakia also won a silver medal in 2000 and bronze in 2003, but Gaborik was not a member of any of those teams.
Look for more information about the World Championship on a day-by-day basis here on newyorkrangers.com once games begin this weekend.