While most of the hockey world is focused on the frantic tournament that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has gotten underway in Sweden and Finland. After the first weekend of play, Russia leads Group H (played in Helsinki, Finland) winning their first three games,while Switzerland leads Group S (played in Stockholm, Sweden) with two wins in regulation and one in overtime.
Team USA sits third in Group H with six points having won two of three. The US defeated Austria and Latvia 5-3 and 4-1 respectively before falling to Russia 5-3. In one of the more surprising results of the tournament to date, a Canadian team stacked with NHL talent fell 3-2 in overtime to relatively unknown Switzerland team.
The tournament has an interesting point system where a team can pick up anywhere between three and zero points. A win in regulation nets three points while a win in overtime nets two. A team falling in overtime is awarded one point while a team falling in regulation is awarded zero. This is a system that has been proposed as a replacement to the NHL’s current system with the thinking being that teams will play harder for the regulation win and the extra point thus eliminating some of the boring finishes seen during the regular season where both teams would rather play for overtime than go for the win in regulation.
Illya Kovalchuck leads the tournament with five goals while big name NHLers litter the rest of the scoring leader board. Steven Stamkos has two goals and four assists while Paul Stastny of the USA has five points off two goals and three assists.
The Florida Panthers have been well represented in the tournament with six players participating in the tournament. Marcel Goc has three assists for team Germany, all recorded in the team’s tourney opening 4-3 loss to Finland. Nick Bjugstad also made his presence felt in his team’s opening game tallying two assists in USA’s 5-3 win over Austria.
Brian Campbell has yet to appear on the scoresheet for Canada but is +6 while averaging 20:10 time on ice per game. Tomas Kopecky has one assist in three games for Slovakia while Tomas Fleischmann has zero points and a -1 rating for the Czech Republic. Jacob Markstrom got the start in Sweden’s opening game against Switzerland. Markstrom gave up two goals on 23 shots in Sweden’s 3-2 loss.
The preliminary round games will continue through May 14th where the top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.