2013 IIHF Men's World Championship preliminary round complete

HELSINKI, FINLAND - MAY 14: Tomas Kopecky (#82) of Slovakia and Matt Carle (#25) of USA battle for the puck during a match between Slovakia and USA - Martin Rose

How's it going on the other side of the pond, for Lightning players and in the tournament as a whole?

The Preliminary round of the IIHF World Championship ended Wednesday and quarterfinals begin Thursday in Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland. The tournament will finish up May 19 with the medal round.

As I wrote last time, there are usually some small surprises in the WCs, but generally, things travel along their predetermined course without much deviation. The top three national teams in the world have been Russia, Canada, and Sweden for a very long time, with Finland and the United States rounding out the top five by most accounts. And these teams generally live up to their billing. This year has been the same, with one exception.

There's almost always a surprise team that comes seemingly out of nowhere to be give the big five trouble. Last year Slovakia and the Czech Republic shared that duty, and ended up with silver and bronze medals to show for it. This year, that team is the Swiss and they apparently don't like to share.

The success of the Swiss has been astounding and if there's any justice in hockey, they'll earn the gold medal. They came through the preliminary rounds virtually unscathed, defeating both Canada and Sweden in regulation, and, well, everyone else too, actually. They go into the quarterfinals undefeated, having needed overtime only once. Once. It's beyond surprising.

More astonishing is that they did so without either powerhouses' stacked rosters of NHLers. There has been only one NHL player on the Swiss roster (Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, though Raphael Diaz of the Montreal Canadiens just joined the team.) Canada,on the other hand, has no one on their roster who is not a full-time NHL player. They're so stacked that P.K. Subban couldn't crack the lineup and Taylor Hall is playing on the fourth line. With a roster like that, it's not much wonder that Canada has lost only one game.

This year's tournament, of course, is part of the preparation for the Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia, in less than a year. While NHL participation is not yet official, if the national teams can call on NHL players, one has to think that Canada, Sweden, and Russia in particular will have an embarrassment of riches on that score. (Team USA has in the past made room for amateur players and Finland's policy of long standing is not to give NHL players preference.) This year's World Championship tournament is in large part an audition for younger, less established players, who hope to make the team.

Lightning Players

Team

GP

Pts

+/-

SOG

SH%

PIM

Matt Carle

USA

7

0-2-2

0

6

0.0

0

Steven Stamkos

CAN

7

6-5-11

+5

27

22.22

4

Nate Thompson

USA

7

0-2-2

0

6

0.00

8

Team

GP

SV%

GAA

SOs

W-L

Ben Bishop

USA

5

.876

2.83

0

3-2

Jaroslav Janus

SVK

2

.875

3.00

0

0-2

Team results for the Preliminary Round:

Helsinki Group

Rank

Team

GP

W

OTW

OTL

L

GDF

GF:GA

PTS

1

FIN

7

4

2

0

1

+9

23 : 14

16

2

RUS

7

5

0

0

2

+15

29 : 14

15

3

USA

7

5

0

0

2

+8

24 : 16

15

4

SVK

7

3

0

1

3

+1

18 : 17

10

5

GER

7

2

1

1

3

-3

13 : 16

9

6

FRA

7

2

0

1

4

-8

13 : 21

7

7

LAT

7

2

0

1

4

-11

14 : 25

7

8

AUT

7

1

1

0

5

-11

18 : 29

5

Stockholm Group

Rank

Team

GP

W

OTW

OTL

L

GDF

GF:GA

PTS

1

SUI

7

6

1

0

0

+19

29 : 10

20

2

CAN

7

5

1

1

0

+15

25 : 10

18

3

SWE

6

4

0

0

2

+4

13 : 9

12

4

CZE

7

3

1

0

3

+7

19 : 12

11

5

NOR

7

3

0

0

4

-14

12 : 26

9

6

DEN

6

1

1

1

3

-5

11 : 16

6

7

BLR

7

1

0

0

6

-11

10 : 21

3

8

SLO

7

0

0

2

5

-15

12 : 27

2

As of the time of writing, Sweden and Denmark had not completed their final game. That game won't impact seeding for the quarterfinal round.

On Thursday, Switzerland will face the Czech Republic at 8:45am ET and Canada will face Sweden at 2:15pm ET, both in Stockholm. In Helsinki, Finland will face Slovakia at 11:30am ET and Russia will face the USA at 6:00am ET. [Note: there is some confusion about what time the USA game will be, so check the IIHF website for confirmation before setting your DVR. It will be either at 6:00 or at 11:30 ET.]

Standings

Schedule

Power Rankings

X
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