NHL players make worlds a tournament to watch this year

NHL players make worlds a tournament to watch this year

NHL players make worlds a tournament to watch this year

Associated Press
NEWS
News May 2, 2018, 18:25 IST




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The World Hockey Championships have been eclipsed by the Olympic tournament since the 1998 Nagano Games, the first to feature NHL players.

Not this year.


The NHL's decision to skip the Pyeongchang Olympics had an impact. Amid lukewarm interest in South Korea, games were often played in half-empty stages. It will be a different story in Denmark.

Organizers say ticket sales have reached their planned goal of 300,000 even before the tournament opens in Copenhagen and Herning on Friday. And there is no need to worry about the lack of stars. Although Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are busy with their candidacy for a three-peat Stanley Cup, some of the sport's biggest names will be on ice in Denmark.

Canada will be led by NHL top scorer Connor McDavid after his Edmonton Oilers did not make the playoffs, his teammate Leon Draisaitl joined Germany, and the United States will be captained by Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane .

Here is a look at the annual tournament that will be played in Denmark for the first time: [19659020] ___


THE TOURNAMENT

The event has 16 nations playing in two groups of eight, with the first four in each group advancing to the playoffs.

Olympic champion Russia, defending champion Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Slovakia, France and Austria are in Group A. The matches will be played at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

Canada, Finland, the United States, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark and South Korea are in Group B. They will play him at Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning.

In Friday's opening games, Canada will face the United States while Russia faces France.

The final is scheduled for May 20.

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THE FAVORITES [19659020] Captain McDavid, who has just won his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer with 108 points, Canada is the team to beat in the world.

McDavid and Wayne Gretzky are the only two players in NHL history to win the scoring race more than once at 22 years of age or younger.

McDavid will join veteran Buffalo forward Ryan O & # 39; Reilly. Both were on the team that won the world title in Russia two years ago.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, who is among the finalists of the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL rookie of the year, was also named in the squad.

"We have a mix of youth, experience and strong leadership qualities among these players, as they have represented Canada on the international stage previously from the junior world to the championship last year," said the co-general manager of Canada, Sean Burke. "Their success and previous experience can only help us in our ultimate goal of taking home a gold medal."

The Canadians, who will be coached again by Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, won the title in 2015 and 2016 after finishing second last year.

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SWEET RUSSIAN COACH

In a surprise move less than a month before the world championships, Oleg Znarok resigned as coach of the Russian hockey team after taking the country to the Olympic title – his first in 26 years.

Playing as "Russian Olympic athletes" due to the country's punishment for doping, Znarok's team beat Germany 4-3 in overtime in the final.

Znarok became coach in March 2014, taking charge of a team lost in the quarterfinals at Ice House at the Sochi Olympics. The Russians won the gold of the world championship that year.

He was replaced by Ilya Vorobyov, one of his assistant coaches, but will still work with the team as a consultant.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, who is in a tight semifinal series of the Eastern Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will not be available. But Vorobyov can rely on a mix of NHL-based players and local talents from Russia-based KHL, considered the strongest league outside the NHL.

Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov and St. Petersburg SKA veteran Pavel Datsyuk are among them, to ensure that Russia remains a candidate for gold, although the lack of experienced NHL defenders and goalkeepers could Damage the team's ambitions.

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OTHERS TO SEE [Estados Unidos] The United States hopes to improve fifth place last year and has a team strong enough to make it possible.

The presence of Kane will undoubtedly improve the quality of the game. He played for the last time in the world championship in 2008, his first season in the NHL and the last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs, and was in the USA team. UU In the Olympic Games of 2010 and 2014.

Buffalo Sabers rookie and world record holder Casey Mittelstadt could not play due to a groin injury, but others will be there, including a trio that won the bronze at the 2015 World Cup in Czech Republic. They include Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, New York Islanders forward Anders Lee and Chicago Blackhawks defender Connor Murphy.