Russia takes the gold in IIHF World Championships

I wrote the article. I get to choose the picture. Suomi! via www.sportsworldreport.com

If you tried to predict the outcome of the 2012 IIHF World Championships, and I'm sure you did, chances are you were wrong. That's okay. Pretty much everyone was.

The Preliminary round held few surprises besides the ability of France and Norway to challenge teams they weren't supposed to be able to challenge. And TeamUSA wasn't really expected to end up in second place in its group. Still the teams that were expected to be bad (Kazakhstan and Italy) ended up in last place, and the teams that were expected to dominate (Canada, Russia, and Sweden) ended up on top.

Then came Quarterfinals day. One by one, three of the top four teams were eliminated from medal contention. Canada. USA. Sweden. Only Russia survived. Of course, it helps to have Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Semin, and Alex Ovechkin on the same team. (The Flyers, Predators, and Rangers say "you're welcome," by the way.) And it helps to have Semyon Varlamov putting up the tournament's highest save percentage at 93.99% (that's .940 in North American).

In the end, the tournament belonged to the Russians. They went undefeated, never even needing overtime to decide a game ("Juggernaut," anyone?) and came away with the gold medal. Slovakia took the silver and the Czechs took the bronze. The Finns, after having a very good early tournament, lost 4 of their last 6 games and ended up in 4th place. Canada, Sweden, and the US came in 5th, 6th, and 7th.

How did the Lightning players do?

Teddy Purcell (CAN) played 10:07 per game, had 1 goal and 1 assist on 9 SOG, and was a +1. Nate Thompson (USA) played 11:19 per game, had 2 goals on 6 SOG, with even plus-minus. J.T. Brown only played in 6 games (5:40 per) but took 8 SOG, had a goal and an assist, and was a +4. Victor Hedman (SWE) played 18:55 per game, had one assist on 12 SOG, and was a -1.

2012 rankings http://www.iihf.com/competition/272/homeiihf/world-ranking.html

2012 tournament results: http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/272/IHM2729900_76_10_0.pdf

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