IIHF World Championship in full swing in Finland, Sweden

HELSINKI, FINLAND - MAY 5: Canada's Nugent-Hopkins #93 looks to make a pass as USA's Nate Thompson #44 defends during preliminary round action at the 2012 IIHF World Championship. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images) via photo.iihf.com

While we're in the middle of the NHL and AHL playoffs, scattered around cheering for our various other teams, there's a third major hockey tournament going on across the pond. The International Ice Hockey Federation's Men's World Championships are being held between now and May 20 in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. The Lightning are well-represented at this year's tournament. Teddy Purcell and coach Guy Boucher have joined Team Canada while Nate Thompson and J.T. Brown are with Team USA and Victor Hedman is representing Sweden.

The tournament started on Friday, and all teams have played at least two games as of this posting. Currently, Canada leads the tournament with 7 points in 3 games. Switzerland, Finland, Russia, and Sweden all have 6 points in 2 games. The USA has 5 points in 2 games and is in 4th place in the Helsinki group. The top four teams from each group will go on to the quarterfinals after the preliminary round finishes on May 15. There's more on the tournament format here.

Nate Thompson has been chosen to be an Assistant Captain for the American team, and he notched a late third-period goal in Team USA's overtime win over Canada on Saturday. Teddy Purcell has one assist, from Canada's first tournament game against Slovakia on Friday. Victor Hedman has one assist and is a +1 in two games for Sweden. JT Brown has seen little ice time, playing a total of 3:20 in both of Team USA's games so far.

For a full schedule of games and results go to http://www.iihf.com/de/competition/272/statistics.html. NBCSN will be broadcasting all of Team USA's games for the first time ever, as well as the quarter- and semifinals and the full medal rounds (May 17-20). You may need to set your DVR, as most of these air during the daytime due to the time difference. The schedule is here.

Teddy Purcell (here) and head trainer Tom Mulligan (who is on staff for Team USA--here) are blogging about their experiences for the Lightning website.

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