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#WCH2016 tonight: USA vs. Europe and Canada vs. Czech Republic

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The games matter now because before, it didn’t. Not really.

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World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Canada Practice

With the World Cup exhibition play behind us, the real thing kicks off this afternoon. There are two preliminary round games on today.

Team USA vs. Team Europe

3:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2

Lightning players on Team USA: Ben Bishop, who will dress and back up Jonathan Quick

USA lineup updates: The lineup for this afternoon.

In a move that makes everyone go WTF? Dustin Byfuglien will not dress in favor of the Johnsons for reasons probably because John Tortorella is Jack Johnson’s NHL head coach. I don’t know. Cory Schneider and Kyle Palmieri are also scratched.

Palmieri was the late addition for the Americans, taking Ryan Callahan’s spot. But Byfuglien? The guy with size who can put up the points over the one who has issues in the defensive zone? -16 last season? Someone please explain.

Lightning players on Team Europe: None

Europe lineup updates: Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal. The scratches: Mikkel Boedker, Luca Sbisa

Stories to hold you over before the game:

They said it:

Team Canada vs. Team Czech Republic

8 p.m. Eastern, ESPNEWS

Lightning players on Team Canada: Steven Stamkos

Canada lineup updates: Braden Holtby, Jake Muzzin and Claude Giroux are the scratches

Lightning players on Team Czech Republic: Ondrej Palat, Andrej Sustr

Czech Republic lineup updates: Staying quiet on starting goalie

Stories to hold you over before the game:

They said it: