Today begins the annual International Ice Hockey Federation tournament for the top national teams in the world: The IIHF World Championships. The rosters may not be top notch, but it is an opportunity for teams to go into their pool of players and compete in an international environment. This year's WC's will be in Russia, specifically hosted by Moscow and St. Petersburg from today, May 6, through to May 22. This means the games are all at Greenwich Mean Time +3 hours. In other words, for those of us on the East Coast of the United States, this is a chance to watch some hockey during the day. That's always a plus.
As the New Jersey Devils did not make the playoffs, there are several people from the organization that will be involved in the 2016 WC's. The United States has the most representation from the franchise. Devils head coach John Hynes is the head coach for Team USA. Devils video coordinator Matt DeMado will coordinate video for the United States. There are even some players: goaltender Keith Kinkaid, defensemen David Warsofsky and Steve Santini, and winger Miles Wood. This is a very young USA roster with only one player over the age of thirty and multiple players coming right out of college, such as the aforementioned Wood and Santini. It also features Auston Matthews, who is a reason enough for anyone to pay attention to the United States at the WC's. Plenty of Maple Leaf fans will.
There are others from the Devils on other international teams. Assistant coach Geoff Ward is on Germany's staff. Forward Sergey Kalinin will be on the home team for this tournament. Good for him on making the Russian roster. Arguably the best Devil at the entire WC's is Adam Larsson. The top-pairing defender will likely play a significant role on Sweden's roster. If only because I look at their roster of defensemen and don't see anyone who really sticks out as being better than him. I would like to think that a good performance by Larsson in this tournament will help his cause for being on the national team more often. So if you're looking for someone to root for in Group A (the US is in Group B), then you might as well make it Sweden because of Larsson.
One last point of interest for this tournament: Finland. Patrik Laine was an absolute monster in the SM-Liiga playoffs and there have been some rumblings that he could go #1 in this coming NHL Entry Draft. Like Matthews, Laine will be on Team Finland and he's a big reason to pay attention to this tourney if only for a taste of what he could become.
Right, so consider this your open post for the World Championships. I do not know about other countries, but I do know the United States' games will be on television. Andrew Gross has a schedule as does USA Hockey's Men's World Championships page. Today is the first game at 9:15 AM EDT, it'll be on NBC SN, and it's against Canada. The United States should get out of Group B, but it will be a tough start with Canada in their first game and Finland on May 9, a.k.a. The Matthews-Laine Showdown. Standard site rules apply and enjoy the WC's!