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Spring Abroad: Islanders Lee, Nelson to play for Team USA at 2017 IIHF Worlds

May? Hold on. Let me check my date book. Nope. I’m free.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Islanders
U-S-A! U-S-A!
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time once again for select NHLers to undertake that most patriotic and slightly disappointing of pastimes, the IIHF World Championships.

At this year’s tournament in Cologne, Germany and Paris, Islanders forwards and good Minnesota boys Brock Nelson and Anders Lee will be suiting up for Team USA.

Lee, who led the Islanders with a career-high 34 goals this season, has played in 10 international contests for the US. Nelson just finished his third straight 20-goal season, and is a veteran of the tournament having played in 24 World Championship games.

They’ll have one familiar face behind the bench, too, as now ex-Islanders coach Jack Capuano will be on head coach Jeff Blashill’s staff. The rest of the player roster includes Florida’s Nick Bjugstad, Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and goalies Jimmy Howard and Connor Hellebuyck.

Preliminary round games start on May 5th, with Team USA taking on Germany in their own backyard of Cologne. The playoffs begin on the 18th and the gold medal game is on the 21st.

Good luck to Lee, Nelson and Team USA. You guys have a helluva tough act to follow.

And for God’s sake DON’T GET HURT.