2013 IIHF Men's World Championship begin in Sweden, Finland

Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishiop are two of five Lightning players & prospects in this year's IIHF Men's tournament. - USA TODAY Sports

Today the IIHF Men's World Championships begin in Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland (dual hosts again this year). This year five Tampa Bay Lightning players are participating: Ben Bishop, Matt Carle, and Nate Thompson for the USA, Steven Stamkos for Canada, and goaltending prospect Jaroslav Janus for Slovakia. Contrary to rumors, prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy is not playing for Team Russia in the tournament,.

Teams from 16 countries are divided into two groups for the round-robin-style first round. This year one group is competing in Stockholm (including Canada and Sweden) and the other in Helsinki (including the USA and Russia). They'll stay that way through the quarterfinals. Semifinals and the medal games will then move to Stockholm on May 18. This means that Canada will play neither Russia nor the United States unless all make it to the semifinal round.

Once again, NBC Sports Network will be carrying all of Team USA's games and, I believe, the medal games. Team Canada's games are, as always, carried on TSN and RDS. Stockholm is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Time in the US, and Helsinki is 7 hours ahead. The first game for the United States is at 12:15pm Helsinki time on Saturday, which translates to 5:15 Tampa time (4:15 for me in Nashville). So set your DVR, I guess. Canada's first game is at 4:15pm Saturday in Stockholm (10:15am ET/9:15 CT).

Links:

Schedule

IIHF World Championships website

and always check out the IIHF Power Rankings

Follow your Lightning participants on Twitter at:

@BenBishop30

@MattCarle25

@NatteThompson44

@RealStamkos91

@Jay_Janus

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