2007 World Hockey Championship
The time has come to pay attention
Well, all 12 teams in the world championship's qualification round have skated in six games, unbeknown to the world.
The funny thing about this tournament is that no one on this side of the ocean pays attention until the games mean something — and by that, I mean the elimination portion of the tournament. Those games kickoff on Wednesday morning, so, as my helpful headline suggests, the time has come to pay attention.
What have you missed? Little, really. The seven hockey super powers are all still in the mix, with up-and-comer Switzerland joining the party with a quarter-final date with Canada.
Here's are the match-ups for the tournament's first elimination games:
(1) Russia v. (4) Czech Republic
(2) Sweden v. (3) Slovakia
(1) Canada v. (4) Switzerland
(2) USA v. (3) Finland
The semi-finals will follow on Saturday, with both the bronze and gold-medal finals on Sunday.
Among those who didn't make the cut were Germany, Denmark, Belarus and Italy (the latter three of whom were all basically blown out with a goal differential of -15 or worse).
The only undefeated teams to this point are Canada and Russia, the tournament favourites heading in, but now we're down to a win-or-go-home scenario.
The winner of the Canada-Switzerland tilt will face the winner of Sweden-Slovakia, while the Russia-Czech Republic victor will draw the winner between USA-Finland.
The tournament's leading scoring to this point is Russia's Alexei Morozov, who has almost certainly earned a return to the NHL after putting up huge numbers in his homeland, while a pair of his non-NHLer teammates, Sergei Zinoviev and Danis Zaripov are right up there among the scoring leaders with 12 and 10 points in six games.
The top-scoring NHLers in the tournament so far are Marian Gaborik (Slovakia), Lee Stempniak (USA), Tomas Plekanec (Czech), Paul Stastny (USA), Shane Doan (Canada), Alex Frolov (Russia), Matt Lombardi (Canada), Petteri Nummelin (Finland), Andrei Markov (Russia), Rick Nash (Canada), Ville Peltonen (Finland) and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia).
Labels: World championship