World Cup of Hockey: U.S. scratches Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson vs. Canada
Canadian goalie Corey Crawford to back up Price for 2nd straight game
John Tortorella has eliminated a probable headache for Sidney Crosby while potentially creating another when he returns to Columbus.
The Blue Jackets head coach, doubling as bench boss for the United States at the World Cup of Hockey, announced that forward Brandon Dubinsky and defenceman Jack Johnson would be scratched for Tuesday's matchup against Crosby and Team Canada in Toronto (8 p.m. ET).
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Dubinsky and Johnson play for Tortorella in Columbus. Last season, it appeared Dubinsky and Tortorella had forged a new relationship after the former told the Columbus Dispatch a year ago it "fell apart" during the 2011-12 season, Dubinsky's last with the New York Rangers and one year before the Rangers fired Tortorella.
Tortorella: "It kills me" to take out Dubinsky and Johnson. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CBJ?src=hash">#CBJ</a> coach says he has to separate NHL interests from these decisions.—@SWhyno
But Tuesday's decision might not sit well with the Blue Jackets' best defensive centre and top faceoff man.
It was thought Dubinsky was named to the World Cup squad in part to shadow Crosby, with whom he has had a career-long spat. Crosby has a goal and minus-7 rating in their past 10 games versus each other and zero goals and 12 assists in 11 career Stanley Cup playoff contests versus Dubinsky.
I can't figure out scratching Dubinsky. He won 9 of 11 draws and played nearly 13 min vs. Europe, plus he's Crosby's super pest. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WCH2016?src=hash">#WCH2016</a>—@drosennhl
Here's the thing: if Dubinsky isn't going to play against Canada, then why is he--rather than Tyler Johnson--on the roster?—@NYP_Brooksie
Sid the Kid was in mid-season form in Canada's tournament-opening 6-0 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday, posting a goal, two assists, five shots on goal and winning six of seven draws.
A loss Tuesday night and the Americans will be eliminated from reaching the semifinals.
You don't need any [added] motivation at this point," Crosby said following Tuesday's brief skate at Air Canada Centre. "We know the situation they're in, but I don't think that'll change our desperation level, I think it just helps the understanding just how intense the game's going to be and the fact that we've got to be ready."
Goaltender Cory Schneider will also sit out for the Americans, who will have six-foot-five, 265-pound forward/defenceman Dustin Byfuglien and forward Kyle Palmieri back in the lineup in a game the U.S. must win to avoid elimination.
Byfuglien adds size on a U.S. team that some believed preferred truculence over skill when shaping its roster. But he also plays a lot, having topped the 25-minute mark over 81 games last season, to go with 19 goals and 53 points.
The 25-year-old Palmieri played 82 games for the first time in five NHL campaigns and scored 30 goals, more than double the 14 he managed in each of the previous two seasons. He also had 222 shots (147 was Palmieri's next highest in 71 games in 2013-14).
Kyle Palmieri is ready to play for Team USA tonight right down to his socks. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WCH2016?src=hash">#WCH2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/Z9EcSenVaj">pic.twitter.com/Z9EcSenVaj</a>—@TomGulittiNHL
Both are expected to see time on the power play after combining for 40 points with the man-advantage in the NHL last season.
Canadian goalie Braden Holtby will be scratched for a second straight game Tuesday, so Corey Crawford will back up Carey Price, who recorded a 27-save shutout on Saturday.
Forward Claude Giroux and defenceman Jake Muzzin were the other healthy scratches against the Czechs and Canada is expected to keep the same lineup Tuesday.
Canada's last meaningful loss to the U.S. came 20 years ago in the final of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
The United States did split a pair of exhibition tilts with the Canadians earlier this month, though they were outshot 81-48 over the two games.
With files from The Canadian Press