With one day left for many countries to prepare for the upcoming IIHF World Championships, we have no doubt this event could see the lamp lit the most times in history. Usually World Championships teams either balance their rosters or make sure their defense is on point to fit the size of the European ice. This year it looks to be different, as lots of talented forwards will hit the ice with few exceptions, and teams have geared up to pass, shoot and score loads. Let’s take a look at a few possible line combinations that should lift the fans up from their seats as often as possible. I’ve often seen that the World Championships consists of weak hockey, but this time it may be close to the well-fought Olympic level.
A look at the Fire Power in the 2015 IIHF World Championships – Group A
Surely they will miss their superstar Thomas Vanek, who is still fighting for the Stanley Cup, but you can’t underestimate this team, as most of their players participated in their national championships. Michael and Thomas Raffl should be the guys leading them in scoring, and just for fun 25-year-old Thomas Hundertpfund could be added to their line. He is like nobody else in this tournament; Hundertpfund can play center, left wing, and defense, so you never know what to expect from him.
They look to be the favorites in Group A and finally seem to be gunning for the gold medal, because Sidney Crosby is on their roster and whoever plays with him will be de facto first liners. His line will score regardless of his partners, though superstars Claude Giroux and Tyler Seguin stand a good chance of flanking him, making this line even more dangerous. Should this trio find chemistry, not only could they be one of the best lines in the tournament, but it could even earn one of them an MVP award.
‘’I’m retiring from the national team.’’
Those words were said by none other than the legendary Jaromir Jagr, who has decided to return to international hockey for the World Championships on his home ice in Prague. He is one of the guys that should play on the top line, with his deadly scoring ability even at age 43. Many would wonder, do you put Roman Cervenka out there to play with him? No, you mix Jagr with a younger version of him, Tomas Hertl, who could bring speed to their line. Of course, adding a player of Jakub Voracek’s skill raises this squad to another level. This is one of the rare occasions when one line can win it all.
Underdogs, or the dark horse? No one knows for sure, but Christobal Huet between the pipes is a security blanket for this squad. He needs some offensive support, so who better than the KHL’s leading goal scorer and former Ottawa Senator Stephen DaCosta? His brother Teddy DaCosta is obviously an option to play with him and a guy that never gives up no matter what. Damien Fleury would be the third cog to a line that opponents will have a reason to be afraid of.
They are not really the favorites, nor the outsiders. It’s certainly hard to figure out what to do against them because they are not a “popular” team on the ice. What do you expect from a kind of team like that? You should consider asking something a lot easier. Arizona Coyote Tobias Rieder is ready to take care of things up front, and with the help of Patrick Hager and Thomas Oppenheimer, it’s certainly possible to score often.
The Latvians are sure to be the hardest team to play against, and they proved it in the Olympics, nearly knocking off Team Canada. They arrived in Prague without their potential leaders and lone NHL stars, Zemgus Girgensons and Ronalds Kenins. Both will miss the world championships with lower-body injuries. Mikelis Redlihs and his speed, Lauris Darzins with his crazy hands and Janis Sprukts with his vision and ability to read the game is the top line that should be reunited and sent out to win games.
If they had Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the discussion about the first line wouldn’t be so difficult, but without them? Sweden has arrived to take the Gold home where it belongs, and to do that they need offense. To create offense, Loui Eriksson, Jimmie Ericsson and Filip Forsberg look to be their potential leaders so why not make them into a line? An experienced NHL player, a KHL champion and one of the NHL’s best rookies could be the key to success.
The Swiss team had never been real contenders until recently. They made it to the finals of the World Championships in 2013, proving they were a team that could win without superstars, a dangerous trait to have. Can they make it to finals once again? Was it pure luck? This is the moment to prove it, and if you can score, you can do everything. Damien Brunner, Matthias Bieber and Reto Surri look to be on their first line.