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Joel Quenneville coaching Canada 'long overdue'

NEWARK, N.J. — Joel Quenneville called it an “honor” and a “privilege” to be named an assistant coach for Team Canada in next September’s World Cup of Hockey. He’ll serve under Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, who led Canada to the gold medal in each of the last two Olympics. Quenneville was considered a dark horse candidate to be the head coach of the team, but was happy to be a part of it in any capacity.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be a great format, great tournament. I’m looking forward to working with Babs and the Hockey Canada group. I’ll get to coach some of our guys.”

Quenneville will focus on defense, while Washington’s Barry Trotz and Boston’s Claude Julien will focus on special teams. Carolina’s Bill Peters will be in charge of scouting the opponents.

Quenneville was the head coach of Team Canada in the 2004 World Championships in Prague, but had to be replaced by Babcock at the tournament after being hospitalized with extreme exhaustion. He hasn’t coached internationally since, but he has won three Stanley Cups.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Andrew Shaw said. “He’s a great coach, and his record shows what he can accomplish. For him to be a part of that coaching staff is a huge honor for him.”

Hossa out

Marian Hossa missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

“Hopefully he can play Sunday [against Edmonton],” Quenneville said.

Rozsival close

Michal Rozsival is getting closer to returning from the broken ankle he suffered in the second round of the playoffs last spring. He’s been skating with the team for a couple of weeks now, building up his conditioning and his speed.

“He’s close,” Quenneville said. “Maybe by the end of next week. Possibly against [the Devils on Thursday].

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus