BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 01: Felix Schuetz (R) of Germany celebrate with tea mate John Tripp (C) after he scores his team's 4th goal ring the IIHF World Championship group A match between Slovakia and Germany at Orange Arena on May 1, 2011 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Yes, we know it started a while ago, but we're still happy to see that Sabres forward Paul Gaustad and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani are playing in this year's IIHF World Championship in Slovakia for Team USA and Team Canada, respectively. A Sabres prospect, Felix Schutz is also playing in the tournament (for Team Germany) but the club seems to have given up hope that he'll ever actually leave Germany to come play for Portland; nevertheless, it's good he made the team after getting left off last year's Olympic roster.
Gaustad is wearing an A for the red, white, and blue, joining captain Mark Stuart and fellow assistants Jack Johnson, Mike Brown, and Mike Komisarek as the team's leaders, part of the reason being that Team USA is so young. Aside from Ty Conklin, nobody on the roster was born before 1982 making the 29-year old Gaustad one of its senior members. The Goose has not yet been set loose, as he is currently a -2 with zero points in three games.
Gragnani is gaining valuable experience playing for Team Canada, and he earned that spot with his play for Buffalo down the stretch and into the playoffs. He continues to impress in Slovakia as he already has one power play goal, one assist, and is a +3 in three games. It's gotta have Sabres fans salivating at the mouth for next season to see Grags continue his great play in high-pressure situations like this.
The other big news from the tournament that you may have missed is how ridiculously great the team names for home clubs in Denmark are. Every country has some oddly named teams, but Denmark really goes above and beyond the call of duty with a laundry list of unpronounceable team names like SonderjyskE Vojens, AaB Aalborg, Hvidovre Ligahockey, EfB Esbjerg, and my personal favorite, MODO Ornskoldsvik. So thank you Denmark, for making me smile and for artificially lengthening this post.