|The 2010 IIHF World Championship: What you May Have Missed in Germany||Tweet|
|Written by Brent Lemon|
|Wednesday, 26 May 2010 10:10|
The 74th IIHF World Championship (WC) wrapped up on Sunday, with the Czechs prying the gold medal from the two-time defending Russian champs. Germany played host this time around, and for you trivia buffs, the world record for attendance at a hockey match was set when almost 78 000 watched the German national squad defeat the US on May 7th. If you didn’t catch this year’s version of the annual WC tournament, read on to see what you missed.
The WC is wildly popular in Europe, but has a lukewarm reception in North America – mainly because the Stanley Cup playoffs are still in full swing when the tournament is held. The resulting unavailability of so many of the best players in the world leads many hockey observers to conclude that the WC is a flawed measure of a nation’s hockey prowess, further lessening its esteem in the NHL’s home continent.
But that’s not to say that you can completely ignore the IIHF’s annual parade of pomp and circumstance if you want to outwit your fellow fantasy GMs. So if (like so many Olympians) you missed the tournament in Germany, fear not – here are five things that you need to know.
1. The Top Scorers
Ilya Kovalchuk led all scorers with 12 points racked over nine games, while John Tavares led all goal-scorers, beating goalies seven times in seven games.
The top scorers were:
Team Canada’s GM, Mark Messier, emphasized youth on his bench, and he seemed to find some success as Matt Duchene joined Tavares in the top-ten scoring list. Steven Stamkos was injured in the match against the Swiss, but picked up two goals (including a game-winner) and an assist in his five games. Jordan Eberle came away with a goal and three assists in his four games.
Not to be outdone by the youngsters, Brooks Laich changed three tires and helped two elderly German ladies cross the street between games.
The official IIHF scoring list from the 2010 WC can be found here.
2. Russia’s Story
After getting steamrolled by the Canadians in the Olympic quarterfinals in February, Russia needed some success in Germany. And they got some. The Russian team benefited from the return of many Vancouver veterans, including Alex Ovechin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, and Pavel Datsyuk. Team Russia looked strong, extending its unbeaten streak to 27 games at the WC, before falling to the Czech Republic in the final, 2-1.
The Russian players, public, and politicians can take some satisfaction that the silver finish was enough to restore their IIHF ranking as the top hockey country in the world.
Sweden defeated the Germans, 3-1 to take home the bronze.
3. Olympic finalists finished in what place?!
Oops. The Olympic champs finished the tournament in the inglorious position of seventh, and Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson described the result as “not acceptable”.
Not to be outdone, the Americans trumped the Canadians by skating to a disastrous 13th place finish., losing to hockey heavy-weight Denmark along the way. Team USA captain, Jack Johnson, described their losses as “inexcusable”.
Typically, both North American countries suffer from having many of their best still playing for their NHL club teams (or having recently finished up), but this year Olympic fatigue compounded the problem. Only one Canadian (Corey Perry) and one American (Jack Johnson) played in both Vancouver and Germany.
4. The IIHF is Awesome
I love international hockey, I really do. You should see me during the World Junior Tournament (and on the off chance that Constable Marsh is reading, I’m still sorry about what happened in Halifax in 2004). However, like most folks on the left-hand side of the Atlantic, I have a hard time getting overly excited about the WC. Unless the tournament is deconflicted with the NHL, it seems a bit pretentious to call it a world championship.
The tournament would also be far more enjoyable without the flow of IIHF propaganda that sometimes accompanies it. You have likely heard about the recent accusations flung at Sidney Crosby and other high-profile Olympians by the IIHF’s Communications Director, Szymon Szemberg, but read Paul McCann’s rebuttal at HockeyBuzz.com.
For the record, the IIHF has apologized for the accusations, calling them “inappropriate”.
On a lighter note, no run-down of the WC is complete without comment on the uniform advertising. For the record, Škoda (of the iconic helmet stickers) was the official sponsor this year, and it’s a Czech car manufacturer. I dare you to check out Škoda’s website.
You have to love any car manufacturer with a model called the ‘Yeti’. Maybe they’ll produce a 2010 WC Team Czech edition to commemorator the gold medal victory. Get Jaromir Jagr to star in the commercials…I’d watch that on YouTube.
So there you have it, the 2010 IIHF WC is in the history books. Obviously, this was a far from comprehensive rundown of the tournament, but I invite you to use the comments to show off your knowledge to everyone else!
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 16:29|