2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship’s Legacy Around the Stanley Cup Playoffs
This year, the IIHF Men’s World Championship takes place in Finland and Sweden between May 4 and 20, 2012. As the world’s best 16 countries compete for the title of world champion, every year we are without some of the best players of the world. After every European country has crowned a champion, the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) starts its tournament. Unfortunately there are still eight NHL teams left in the fight for the Stanley Cup.
This setup gives teams with only a few NHL players a disadvantage as the players still have to play for their North American franchises, but are desperately needed to play for their country. NHL players from teams that lose in the 1st round are able to play, but Belarus could certainly use Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, who are still playing for Nashville, and Roman Josi, also under contract with Nashville, would strengthen Switzerland as would Boedker in Phoenix for Denmark. Some players will be called upon during the World Championship to adapt and strengthen the teams, mostly with players who lost their 2nd playoff round in the NHL. At the same time, NHL franchises with many national team players can argue that they have a disadvantage as risk of injury and possible distraction arises.
2014 Olympics seeding
An important fact is that the IIHF world ranking is used for the Olympics seeding and qualification. After the 2012 IIHF World Championship, the nine highest ranked teams will qualify for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The remaining three spots will be up for grabs by everyone else. So even though not all hockey players are able to play in the World Championship if they are still competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, its outcome will influence the groups in the Olympics. Yet the NHL interrupts its regular season schedule, enabling all players to compete in the Olympics. The NHL started interrupting games for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano but is currently considering going back to its archaic state of ignoring international competition. But that is a whole new topic (and comments are welcome about the NHL’s tendencies).
Ranking prior the 2012 World Championship
- Finland 2245 Points
- Sweden 2240
- Russia 2225
- Czech Republic 2210
- Canada 2195
- USA 2045
- Switzerland 1990
- Germany 1985
- Norway 1960
- Slovakia 1940
- Belarus 1845
- Denmark 1830
- Latvia 1825
- France 1700
- Austria 1685
- Kazakhstan 1620
To give you a sense of the point distribution, the winner of the 2012 tournament will get an additional 1200 points and the 16th placed team 820. This is due to having 47 countries involved in WC, WCIA, WCIB, WCIIA, WCIIB and WCIII, including the United Arab Emirates as currently last in the ranking.
From www.iihf.com: “In the 2012 Pre-Championship report, the values of the 2011, 2010 and 2009 IIHF tournaments (World Championships and Olympics) are reduced by 25 percent compared to the 2011 Final Ranking and only the points of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship need to be added to get the final 2012 IIHF Men’s World Ranking.”
As you can see the top countries are quite close point-wise. And every point will count to determine the seeding for Sochi 2014.
I remember when the Czech Republic team won their first Olympic gold medal in 1998… who would have guessed! Prior to the tournament, the media only talked about who would win the final, Canada or the USA, because of all the participating NHL players.
That is why I would like to see the best players of the world competing every four years. It’s not as clear as it appears. And in all fairness, the NHL players must play on a bigger rink at IIHF tournaments than they are used to in their league. At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Canada and the USA met in the final… on NHL rinks.
…and that is the last word.