We know it’s not all that well known or, ahem, respected by most North American hockey fans, but the IIHF is changing the format of their annual World Championships. The old format, which will be used for the last time in 2011 in Slovakia, had four groups of four teams play a round-robin style within their group with the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinals. The new change will make much more sense.
The new championship format will have the 16 teams playing in two preliminary round groups with eight teams in each, using the IIHF World Ranking for seeding. This means that each team will play seven preliminary round games against beforehand known opposition.
The top four teams in each preliminary round group will advance to the quarterfinals. The teams who finished last in each group will be relegated to Division I. Teams placed 5-8 will have no more games.
The new format sees the number of games increase from 56 to 64. Under the current format it takes nine games to become world champion. The new format will call for the two top teams to play ten games.
With the number of games being played increasing, the number of players you can have on your roster will also be increasing as well, from 22 to 25. What this means for the likes of Team USA is even more opportunities for players who maxed out their careers in college or who play overseas to get a chance to represent their country. After all, taking a look at the team the United States put on the ice in Germany in the 2010 World Championships, unless USA Hockey starts taking the yearly international competition more seriously, the roster could get even uglier.
As for the format, it just makes more sense and it opens things up a bit more for the more talented countries to get some breathing room heading into the quarterfinals. It also gives upstart countries more opportunities to try and make a name for themselves by knocking off the Goliaths of the hockey world.
Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.
When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.
“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.
“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”
Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.
The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.
That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.
If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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