CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Canada selected Jay Bouwmeester to replace Duncan Keith on its roster for the World Cup of Hockey.
Keith is still rehabbing a right knee injury he suffered last season, the Chicago Blackhawks said. The two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in October.
''We understand his decision not to participate in next month's World Cup of Hockey,'' Blackhawks head physician Michael Terry said in a statement Wednesday. ''We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury.''
Bouwmeester rejoins Canada after winning gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He was chosen as Keith's replacement by Canadian general manager Doug Armstrong, who also is his GM with the St. Louis Blues.
Canada had a lot of potential choices to replace Keith, including P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Armstrong said having three left-handed defensemen on the roster was ''critical.''
''Jay's experience with what it takes to be successful in these short tournaments can't be undervalued,'' Armstrong said.
Canada's other top choices were Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie of the Calgary Flames, but Hockey Canada has familiarity with Bouwmeester. The 32-year-old smooth-skating lefty will presumably again be paired with fellow Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo at the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.
Canada already had an injury replacement at forward with Logan Couture taking Jamie Benn's place.