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April 19, 2003 - Maltby, Draper, Dandenault join Worlds
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Maltby, Draper, Dandenault join Worlds

(CP) - Forwards Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper and defenceman Mathieu Dandenault of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings have accepted invitations to play for Canada at the world hockey championship in Finland April 26-May 11.

Forward Krys Kolanos of the Phoenix Coyotes has also been added to the roster.

Maltby and Draper form two-thirds of Detroit's Grind Line and the two veteran players will add some leadership and ruggedness to a young Canadian lineup.

Draper, 31, had 14 goals and 21 assists in 82 games this season while Maltby, 30, had 14 goals and 23 assists in 82 games for the Wings, who were stunned in the first round of the playoffs by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in four straight games.

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Draper played for Canada at the 2000 and 2001 world championships.

Dandenault, 27, had four goals, 15 assists and was plus-25 in 74 games this year. A speedy skater and solid passer, Dandenault's shifty game will be better suited to the larger international ice surface in Europe.

Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios has accepted an invitation to play for the United States.

Canadian team general manager GM Steve Tambellini had a hand in getting the three Red Wings for Canada.

Jim Nill, the assistant to Wings' GM Ken Holland, is also Tambellini's assistant on the Canadian team.

``Jim says these guys love to play the game and that's what you want to here,'' Tambellini said Saturday from Vancouver, where he doubles as the Canucks' vice-president of player personnel.

``There was no hesitation whatsoever on the part of those players. Those are the kind of guys you want on your team.''

Kolanos, 21, has only played two games this season after spending most of the year recovering from a serious concussion.

Tambellini continued to work the phones this weekend.

The Boston Bruins and New York Islanders were eliminated from post-season play on Thursday night.

Among the Canadian-born players on those rosters are forwards Joe Thornton and Glen Murray and defencemen Dan McGillis and Nick Boynton of the Bruins, as well as centre Michael Peca and defenceman Adrian Aucoin of the Islanders.

Canada now has 16 players named to its 23-man roster, including 10 forwards. Maltby, Draper and Kolanos join Dany Heatley of the Atlanta Thrashers, Anson Carter of the New York Rangers, Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, Daniel Briere of the Buffalo Sabres, Kyle Calder of the Chicago Blackhawks and Shane Doan and Chris Gratton of the Coyotes.

Gratton, however, will be a last-minute decision because of a nagging shoulder problem.

On defence, Dandenault joins Craig Rivet of the Montreal Canadiens and Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers.

Canada is strong in goal with veteran Sean Burke of the Coyotes, as well as Roberto Luongo of the Panthers and Martin Biron of the Sabres.

The players already named will leave for Europe on Sunday along with head coach Andy Murray and assistants Mike Pelino, Rob Cookson and Barry Trotz.

Canada will play Latvia in Riga in an exhibition game on Wednesday before heading to Turku on Thursday.

Canada's first game of the world championships is Saturday against Belarus (TSN, 9 a.m. EDT).

Canada hasn't won a medal at the world championships since the gold in 1997, when Murray was behind the bench.

Canada has lost the quarter-finals the last two years with rosters lacking true NHL star power.

Slovakia is the defending champion after beating Russia in last year's final in Goteborg, Sweden.