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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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NHL geeks and stars. Who to watch at the Ice Hockey World Championship without Russia

The Ice Hockey World Championship begins in Finland on Friday. Since the debut of the national team in 1954, the tournament will be held without it for the second time. About the change in the composition of participants, stars and favorites – in the RBC material

Finnish striker Mikael Granlund is one of the great stars of the next World Cup (Photo: Global Look Press)

Second World Cup without selection

At the end of February, the national teams of Russia and Belarus were suspended from the World Cup. Their places were given to Austria and France. Why exactly them?

Austria and France were relegated from the elite in 2019, and in 2020 and 2021 the first division World Cups were not held due to the coronavirus. Therefore, the composition of the participants in the main world championship did not change. In 2022, instead of Russia and Belarus, it simply included the two worst teams at the time of the last changes.

The team will miss the second World Cup in history. Since the team made its world championship debut in 1954, it participated in all but one tournament in 1962. Then the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Romania did not come to the United States in protest at the Americans’ refusal to granting visas to East German hockey players due to the construction of the Berlin Wall.

main stars

A year ago, NHL players traveled to the World Championships in Latvia in limited numbers, largely due to strict anti-virus regulations, including a six-day quarantine, which was reduced to five days during the tournament, and also because of the club position. They weren’t eager to let hockey players go abroad during a pandemic.

Now there are no restrictions in Finland. But it cannot be said that the teams are much stronger than a year ago.

Finland mainly has players who have played in the KHL and the European championships. But it includes 2011 world champion, Nashville’s fourth-leading scorer last season (11 goals plus 53 assists), Mikael Granlund.

Sweden was bolstered by several NHL players, most notably defenders: Buffalo’s third-scorer Rasmus Dahlin (13+40) and Vancouver’s two-time world champion Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The Czech Republic landed one of Detroit’s best defenders, Filip Groneck, as well as several skilled forwards. Among them are San José’s second-scorer Tomas Gertl (30+34), who missed most of the season due to injury, Jakub Vrana (Detroit) and veteran Olomouc David Krejci, 36, before more from 10. years was one of the leaders of the “Boston”.

The Canadians again brought an average team to the World Cup, from which three people stand out: the main defender of Ottawa Tom Chabot, as well as the leader of the Islanders Matthew Barzal (15 + 44) and the third scorer of Winnipeg Pierre . -Luc Dubois (28+32). Almost all of the Canadians’ attacking game will be built through these hockey players.

As part of another North American team, the United States, only the leader of the Chicago defense, Seth Jones, can be singled out.

There is someone to watch in the compositions of the lower-status teams.

The Germans received solid reinforcements for their level, for which three of the eight hockey players representing Germany in the NHL will play. This is Seattle’s main goalkeeper Philip Grubauer, Detroit’s most productive defender, season rookie contender Moritz Seider (7+43), Ottawa’s second-scorer Tim Stutzle (22+36).

Switzerland will be represented by San Jose’s leading forward Timo Mayer (35+41) and one of New Jersey’s leaders, 2017 NHL first draft pick Niko Hishir. Plus lower-status players: Detroit and Chicago forwards Pius Zuter and Philip Kurashev, as well as Columbus defender Dean Kukan.

The Swiss team may also be bolstered by defensive player Roman Yosi, who last season scored a fantastic 96 (23+73) points for a defender. Yossi is Nashville’s all-time leading scorer, 11th in points in all leagues, and the first defenseman to exceed 90 points in the 21st century. The previous time this indicator was surpassed in 1994 by Ray Burke (91 points). Yossi claims the award for the best defense of the season.

Denmark will be bolstered by Winnipeg’s fifth goalscorer Nikolai Ehlers (28+27). And as part of the Slovak national team, special attention will be paid to Juraj Słafkowski. He doesn’t play in the NHL, but he plays for the Finnish TPS. However, at the last Beijing Olympics, the 17-year-old striker became the best scorer (seven goals) and the tournament’s most valuable player, and the Slovaks won an Olympic medal in hockey for the first time in history: bronze. . Both the team award and the junior’s performance became sensations. Slafkowski and Slovakia may also be shown in Finland.

Who will win the medals?

The absence of Russia, who have been among the favorites in all recent championships, increases the chances of other teams to obtain prizes. This is especially true for those who have rarely appeared on the podium in recent years. For example, the Czechs have not won a medal since 2012.

The world championship favorite is Finland, which includes nearly two dozen Olympic champions from Beijing. The Finns have an experienced and well-played team. In addition, they are the hosts of the tournament.

The Canadians and the Swedes have the best chances for silver and bronze. Czechs and Americans can compete with them. The Swiss should not be ruled out: in the last eight tournaments they have played in the final twice.


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