While our main focus at PHT is pro hockey (it is in the title, right?), we still have our eye on other puck-related events. One of the world’s best hockey tournaments is the Hockey World Championships held every summer. The added wrinkle is that the contest takes place during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which means that an NHL playoff team’s loss could be a participating country’s gain.
Our own Joe Yerdon is providing some great stuff on the tournament, including a recent article regarding how much a Red Wings playoff loss could potentially help various countries.
First, there’s the most obvious nation to benefit: Sweden.
Obviously, the main country that could benefit from the Wings elimination is Sweden. Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson are all players that could be ready to play in worlds. There’s one other big name Swede from Detroit, but captain Nicklas Lidstrom hasn’t participated in the World Championships since 2004. It’s unlikely that the 40 year-old future Hall of Famer would participate this year, especially since retirement could be next on his list.
Yerdon mentions that while Russia is loaded with talent (perhaps they should thank the Montreal Canadiens for freeing up the schedule of so many Russian Capitals?), Pavel Datsyuk is a player whose puck patriotism could be a boon. Finally, here’s a few other individuals who could really help their respective WC rosters.
Two players from the Wings roster could provide a big boost to two different Group D teams if they should be asked to sign up. Finland’s Valtteri Filppula and the United States’ Jimmy Howard are eligible to join their countries but the question remains to be answered if they will. For Finland, Filppula would give their offense another skilled player to help improve an offense that was stonewalled against Denmark. For the United States, Howard could provide some stability in goal as well as giving Howard a taste of international competition he hasn’t seen since World Juniors in 2002-2003.
Personally, I think that Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Zetterberg and other long-time Wings deserve a Free Patriotism Pass because they’ve played an unbelievable amount of hockey during the last three years. Younger/lower-minute players such as Howard, Filppula and Ericsson might want to at least consider going overseas, though.
Want more coverage of the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championships? Here’s a few more links.