Sunday, 17 May 2015

How Sweet It Is

I'm not sure anyone expected that. I'm entirely sure that the Russians both on the ice and back in Russia never saw it coming. The reality is, however, that the Canadians are the IIHF World Champions once again after a dominating performance both in today's game and throughout the tournament. Some can say that this team was stacked from the start, but it's not like Russia came into the game with unknown names and little talent.

I will grant the Russians a little credit in that the opening ten minutes of the game were played at a frantic pace. Both teams had chances early, but it was Canada who would score first. And second. And third, fourth, fifth, and sixth in the game before Sergei Mozyakin put Russia on the board midway through the third period.

I'm not sure anyone expected that.

With Canada's recent victories in the World Junior Championship, the Olympics, and now the World Championship, there will be obvious movement in the country rankings. I expect that Canada should be at the top of the list in 2015, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the field is organized. Russia could be as high as second or possibly third with their recent showing. Sweden, who finished in fifth-place at these World Championships, will most likely fall while Finland, who finished in sixth-place, will fall as well. The US, who had another strong showing, should move up a spot or two as well.

Next year's IIHF World Championship will take place in Russia, so there will be a lot of pressure on them to avenge this loss to Canada by winning gold next year in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Group A will consist of Canada, Finland, USA, Slovakia, Belarus, France, Germany, and Hungary who were promoted from the Division-I World Championship. Group B features Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark, and newly-promoted Kazakhstan.

That Group B pool could be called the Red Pool since all but Sweden and Kazakhstan wear red. In any case, it will be interesting to see who goes to play for which teams next season when the NHL season ends. If Russia has its way, it may conscript all its Russian-born NHL players this summer in preparation for the World Championship next year.

Losing like they did to Canada today won't go over well again. Especially after their performance in Sochi on home soil as well.
Coongratulations to Team Canada: WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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