Could Detroit's loss be a win for 2010 IIHF World Championships?

datswc.jpgWhile 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.

The Hockey Worlds Blog

A Photo Gallery for Day 2 of the WC

Team USA upset by Germany

Germany-USA draws record crowd

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    PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

    Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
    AP Photo
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

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    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.