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Road to World Cup

Team Europe hoping to mesh quickly

Marian Hossa, Anze Kopitar lead new entry with players from eight different countries @NHL

Players from eight countries will come together to form Team Europe, one of two new entries at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

The 23-man roster includes six players from Slovakia, five from Germany, four from Denmark, four from Switzerland and one each from Slovenia, Austria, Norway and France.

Coach Ralph Krueger will try to get a group of players who are used to playing against each other to mesh as a unit in a short time.

Though Team Europe figures to be an underdog, it has plenty of success on its side.

Forward Marian Hossa (Slovakia) has 499 regular-season goals and played on three Stanley Cup winners with the Chicago Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015). Center Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) was a linchpin in the Los Angeles Kings' 2012 and 2014 championship teams, and forward Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) was a teammate of Kopitar's with the Kings in 2014. Defensemen Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) and Dennis Seidenberg (Germany) were teammates when the Boston Bruins won it all in 2011.

Two of the three goaltenders, Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia) and Thomas Greiss (Germany) are teammates with the New York Islanders.

Roman Josi (Switzerland), of the Nashville Predators, and Chara will anchor the defense, which has plenty of experience with Seidenberg, Mark Streit of the Philadelphia Flyers (Switzerland) and NHL free agent Christian Ehrhoff (Germany).

Frans Nielsen (Denmark), who signed with the Detroit Red Wings on July 1 should provide solid two-way hockey up front with Hossa and Kopitar. Team Europe needs Gaborik, who missed much of last season with a knee injury, to rediscover the form that's made him a seven-time 30-goal scorer in the NHL. Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers (Germany) provides speed and scoring in the middle.

Team Europe's forwards provide a mix of star power, role players and young talent.

Perhaps the toughest task for Krueger will be to find the chemistry that will get players from eight nations to play as one during a tournament in which they're not playing for their own countries. With less than two weeks from the time camp opens to the first game, his task won't be easy.

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