2011 World Hockey Championship 2011 World Hockey Championship

2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships Preview


Today marks the beginning of the 2011 World Hockey Championship being held in Slovakia. This 15 day, 16 team/country tournament is held every year in a battle of world hockey dominance. Known as a tournament that prepares countries for larger international tournaments such as the Olympics, the World Championships is a good gauge on where countries stand on the international stage.

With the tournament being more popular on the other side of the globe, mainly due in part to the timing of the tournament conflicting with the NHL Playoff schedule, this tournament will present great hockey for puck heads. With many of the super powers of hockey at a disadvantage during the tournament, due in part to many of their great stars still playing in playoff hockey in their respective leagues, this tournament is not a four team tournament and is very wide open to a few surprises.

Last year’s gold medal was taken home by the Czech Republic as they denied Russia their third straight World Championship gold. With the Czech returning much of the same roster with current and former NHL stars, they are once again favorites to win gold. Russia will also be heavy favorites as they always ice a strong team at this tournament and with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, they will use this tournament as a precursor for 2014. Russia will be led by New Jersey Devil sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, but they are lacking the star power of past teams as many Russian stars are still playing in the NHL Playoffs.

Another threat for the gold will be the USA, the silver medalists from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Icing a roster full of young NHLer’s, the USA is an emerging power on the international stage. Sweden is always a threat at any tournament, but this year they are going with a more youthful roster with not many NHL veterans on the team. Sweden can be using this tournament as a tryout for many of their young guns in preparation of the 2014 Olympics and as a changing of the old guard.

Team Canada will be looking to redeem themselves as they were embarrassed at last year’s tournament with a disappointing seventh place  finish. Winning gold last in 2007, Canada has not done well at this tournament. Since World War II, Canada has only won gold 13 times in that 63 year span that the tournament has taken place. Now many would see 13 gold medals as a success, but with the stars Canada can ice, usually able ice two or three teams that would be highly competitive in any tournament, this is seen as a letdown.

Canada’s roster this year will be quite young as the elder statesman will be Ottawa Center Jason Spezza at 27 years old. The Canadians will be led by 2010 Winter Olympics gold medalist Rick Nash as he will wear the ‘C’ for the first time for the red and white. With Canada also preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics, this will be a tryout for many of their youngsters on the team as there will also be a changing of the old guard in 2014. The only question for Canada will be in goal as they will go with young tenders James Reimer and Devan Dubnyk.

As for your Ottawa Senators  being represented in the tournament, along with Jason Spezza representing Team Canada, center Ryan Shannon will suit up for the USA, recently signed NCAA standout Stephen Da Costa will play for France, Milan Michalek will play for the reigning champs, the Czech Republic (sorry Filip Kuba fans, for some reason he did not get an invite from the team). Two Sens prospects will also be lining up for Sweden as David Rundblad and Jakob Silfverberg will don the three crowns. On a side note, keep an eye on the Russian roster as you will see once hyped prospect Alexei Kaigorodov line up for Mother Russia.

I’ll be watching to see how Jason Spezza plays as he ended the year on fire. Last time he played for head coach Ken Hitchcock was at the 2009 World Championships where he was put in a different role. Hitchcock wanted Spezza to play a more two-way game and put him on the fourth line to learn to play a full 200 feet game. Spezza credits Hitchcock for his improved two-way game and says he’s happy with whatever role he is assigned. With Ottawa looking for a new head coach, this is a great opportunity for Hitchcock to impress the team’s best player.

This tournament is wide open this year. The Czechs are favoured as they have a very experienced line-up where as other countries are icing more youthful rosters. With the preliminary rounds going on for the next six days, be prepared for some great international hockey.

Here are the groups and schedule for the tournament.


The 16 teams are divided into four groups in the Preliminary Round.
For more information about the format, click here.

 Group A:
 Group B:
 Group C:
 Group D:
  Russia  Canada  Sweden  Finland
  Slovakia Switzerland  USA  Czech Rep.
  Germany  Belarus  Norway  Latvia
  Slovenia  France  Austria  Denmark


Here is the Game Schedule for the Preliminary Round

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011

Russia vs Germany10:15 AM
France vs Switzerland10:15 AM
Slovenia vs Slovakia2:15 PM
Canada vs Belarus2:15 PM


Denmark vs Finland10:15 AM
Austria vs USA10:15 AM
Latvia vs Czech Republic2:15 PM
Sweden vs Norway2:15 PM

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2011

Slovenia vs Russia10:15 AM
France vs Canada10:15 AM
Germany vs Slovakia2:15 PM
Belarus vs Switzerland2:15 PM

MONDAY, MAY 2, 2011

Denmark vs Czech Republic10:15 AM
Norway vs USA10:15 AM
Finland vs Latvia2:15 PM
Austria vs Sweden2:15 PM

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2011

Germany vs Slovenia10:15 AM
Switzerland vs Canada10:15 AM
Slovakia vs Russia2:15 PM
Belarus vs France2:15 PM


Latvia vs Denmark10:15 AM
Norway vs Austria10:15 AM
Czech Republic vs Finland2:15 PM
USA vs Sweden2:15 PM

Here’s TSN’s broadcast schedule for the 2011 IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:

Friday, April 29
Belarus vs. Canada at 2 p.m. ET

Saturday, April 30
• USA vs. Austria at 10 a.m. ET

Sunday, May 1
Canada vs. France at 10 a.m. ET

Monday, May 2
• USA vs. Norway at 10 a.m. ET

Tuesday, May 3
Canada vs. Switzerland at 10 a.m. ET

Wednesday, May 4
• USA vs. Sweden at 2 p.m. ET

Friday, May 6
• Qualification Round:1B vs. 2C at 10 a.m. ET
• Qualification Round: 1C vs. 3B at 2 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 7
• Qualification Round: 1B vs. 3C at 10 a.m. ET

Sunday, May 8
• Qualification Round: 1C vs. 2B at 10 a.m. ET (TSN2)

Monday, May 9
• Qualification Round: 2B vs. 2C at 10 a.m. ET
• Qualification Round: 1B vs. 1C at 2 p.m. ET

Wednesday, May 11
• Quarterfinal 1 at 10 a.m. ET
• Quarterfinal 2 at 2 p.m. ET

Thursday, May 12
• Quarter-final 3 at 10 a.m. ET
• Quarter-final 4 at 2 p.m. ET

Friday, May 13
• Semifinal 1 at 10 a.m. ET
• Semifinal 2 at 2 p.m. ET

Sunday, May 14
• Bronze Medal Game at 10 a.m. ET
• Gold Medal Game at 2:30 p.m. ET

**Note: all rosters taken for the 2011 IIHF World Championship website. My apologies if I am mistaken as some players are not listed on the site.**


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