If you are already suffering from Dallas Stars withdrawal (and I know that I am) then this should be at least a small consolation. A number of Dallas Stars players have been invited to play for their respective countries in this summer's World Championships -- a chance for some young players to get some good experience on the international stage. The tournament begins May 4.
Because of the players still in the NHL playoffs, a few of the young guys will be thrust into some prominent roles on their teams -- especially when you consider that Jack Campbell and Richard Bachman are expected to be two of the three goaltenders for Team USA.
"It's a great opportunity," said Bachman." I am looking forward to going to Europe and checking out all that stuff. It's all brand new to me."
It's not known just yet if Bachman will be the No. 1 starter or not, likely dependent on whether Jonathan Quick is a first-round exit or not in the playoffs. Alex Goligoski will also be playing for Team USA, a high honor for the new franchise defenseman for the Stars.
Other players making the journey across the pond:
Jamie Benn - Team Canada
Kari Lehtonen - Team Finland
Philip Larsen - Team Denmark
Tomas Vincour - Team Czech Republic
Loui Eriksson - Team Sweden
Jamie Benn is gaining a lot of respect in the hockey community, especially after this past season, and could shine on an international level while playing for Team Canada. Benn is excited, but you get the feeling that he'd rather continue playing hockey a bit closer to home:
"It will be a good experience for a young guy like me, and I'll be around some pretty good players. I guess that is the next step for me. I'm looking forward to it."
Finally, Kari Lehtonen put it best:
"I want to get used to playing in May and extend the season. That's what you need to do when you are ultimately in the playoffs and going deep there," Lehtonen said. "I think that will be great for me to make the summer a little shorter and keep playing."