Belarus add four NHL players to squad

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia Mon May 5, 2008 5:04pm EDT

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - Belarus added four NHL players to their lineup on Monday as teams continued to tweak their rosters at the ice hockey world championships.

The Montreal Canadiens' loss has been Belarus's gain with forwards Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski joining the national squad along with Ruslan Salei of the Colorado Avalanche after their teams were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Kostitsyn brothers will bolster the Belarus attack, Andrei collecting 26 goals and 53 points for the Canadiens during the regular season, while Sergei scored nine goals.

Down to just one fit netminder after Alexander Eremenko was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with a knee injury, Russia have applied for insurance that would allow Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks to join the team.

Nabokov, a Vezina Trophy finalist for the NHL's top netminder, became available after the Sharks were knocked out of the playoffs on Sunday by the Dallas Stars.

However, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Web site (www.iihf.com), he is waiting for the Russian federation to find insurance on his multi-million dollar contract before he can join the team in Quebec City.

Without a backup, Russia recruited 21-year-old Canadian junior player Kevin Desfosses to work Monday's practice.

The Russians also confirmed that New York Rangers defenseman Fedor Tyutin will be added to the roster on May 7, when teams can add two more players to their lineups.

The Czech Republic said Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec, who had 29 goals and 69 points this season, would join them on Wednesday. They are also hoping to get clearance to add New York Rangers forward Petr Prucha and defenseman Michal Rozsival to the lineup.

Finland said they expected to hear on Monday whether Canadiens captain Saku Koivu would accept an invitation to play at the world championships.

(Editing by Sonia Oxley)

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