Several Hawks to play in Championships

CHICAGO -- There will be more hockey this season for several Chicago Blackhawks, though it won’t be in North America. Getting knocked out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is allowing some of them to play in the World Championships being held in Finland and Sweden next month.

Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith will play for Team Canada while Viktor Stalberg will suit up for Sweden.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane declined invitations from their respective countries.

“I think there is that element of uncertainty,” Toews said about a late season concussion. “The smart play is to rest and make sure everything is clear and it’s behind me. Obviously, I’d like to go and represent Canada every chance I get but right now it’s not the smartest thing to do.”

Kane sighted fitness and health as well. Kane had wrist surgery late in the offseason last summer limiting his ability to get in the best condition for the regular season.

“I think I’m just going to take the summer to rest and get excited about next season,” Kane said. “I’m healthy right now, I don’t want to risk that. I saw the difference it could make…I don’t think I was fully prepared for the season due to that.”

Sharp, Keith and Stalberg will leave very soon for Europe. The Championships conclude on May 20.