Versus will air games from the 2011 Men’s IIHF World Championships

As it turns out, the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t the only major hockey event that Versus will cover. The network will air at least 11 games from the 75th Annual Men’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, beginning on Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m. ET. This marks the first time Versus will provide coverage of the event.

The network reports that it will televise a substantial amount of games from the tournament, “including four preliminary- round games, at least three qualification-round games and at least one quarterfinal game.” Versus says that it will air every game by the U.S. team if it advances beyond the first round, but even if it doesn’t make it to the semifinals, the network will still air those two games (on May 13) as well as the gold medal game (May 15).

There will also be studio updates before, during and after the games. Bill Pidto and Matt Loughli will rotate as hosts alongside New Jersey Devils/American hockey star Zach Parise.

Here’s a look at how the preliminary round and its 16-team pool will look, along with an outline of how the first four games of coverage might look on Versus.

There are a total of 16 teams participating in the round-robin tournament which are placed in four groups to play in the preliminary round. The top three teams in each group will advance to the qualification round, while the last team in each group competes in the relegation round, where the top two teams will automatically qualify for the next year’s World Championships. Preliminary round groups:

Group A (Bratislava): Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia

Group B (Košice): Canada, Switzerland, Belarus, France

Group C (Košice): Sweden, United States, Norway, Austria

Group D (Bratislava): Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Denmark

VERSUS’ preliminary round coverage of the 2011 World Championships is as follows (all times ET, subject to change):

Saturday, April 30 — USA-Austria (Live) — 10 a.m.

Monday, May 2 — USA-Norway (Live) — 10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3 — Canada-Switzerland — TBD

Wednesday, May 4 — USA-Sweden — TBD

Video: Pekka Rinne’s zero-margin-of-error stick save

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Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.

Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.

You can also see it up close via this GIF:

Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:

At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
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Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks