Gonchar and Malkin to join Russia at worlds after Penguins’ Stanley Cup exit

COLOGNE, Germany – Pittsburgh Penguins players Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin will join up with the Russia team at the ice hockey world championship in the next few days.

Russia coach Vyacheslav Bykov will benefit from the extra firepower after the Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens.

Teams at the world championship are allowed to have 20 skaters and three goalies in the first round and can add two more players for the second round.

The two-time Olympian Malkin will play in his fourth worlds and was a leading figure in Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup title run, earning the playoffs’ most valuable player award.

Gonchar, a four-time Olympian, had 13 goals and 49 assists in 75 games this season.

Bykov added Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov just before the tournament started when the Washington Capitals were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

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Other recent big-game additions to the rosters included Germany bringing in Christian Ehrhoff of the Vancouver Canucks; Finland adding 22-year-old forward Oskar Osala of the Carolina Hurricanes; world juniors MVP Jordan Eberle joining Canada; and Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames helping Sweden.

While many teams were adding players, surprise team Norway will lose two due to suspensions.

The worlds’ disciplinary panel on Friday suspended Norway forward Martin Laumann Ylven for two games following a first period-blow to the head of France’s Antonin Manavian, who did not return to the game due to concussion.

Norwegian goalie Pat Grotnes was banned for one game after shoving France’s Yorick Treille and then hitting him on the head with his stick in the third period of the same game.