What is the best Canadian ice hockey team
16 teams, but only one crown: Starting today, the puck will rush across the ice again when the world's greatest nations fight for the ice hockey world championship title. (Everything about the Ice Hockey World Championship)
All 64 games! The Ice Hockey World Championship from May 21st to June 6th LIVE on SPORT1
The World Cup in Riga is also the first after 2019, as the corona pandemic made it impossible to hold it last year. (Here to the tables of the Ice Hockey World Championship)
Before the start of the tournament looks SPORT1 on the individual teams and investigates who has the greatest chances for the title. Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia, the USA - which of the big ice hockey nations sends the best team to Riga, where is the star magic lazy? (The entire group stage schedule)
And what role does Germany play in this World Cup, which starts today against Italy (Ice Hockey World Cup: Germany - Italy from 3 p.m. LIVE on TV and in the stream)? Secret favorite, outsider or more? TheSPORT1-Power ranking.
16. Great Britain
The big sensation was that the motherland of football, where ice hockey is a stepchild, did not relegate at the 2019 World Cup. This year the team will also stay on top because relegation has been suspended. The British are unlikely to celebrate many successes.
Italy is an outsider weakened by corona cases: 15 players were caught in the Germans' first opponent in the tournament. In an emergency, the only 16-year-old Damian Clara was nominated as a substitute goalkeeper.
Even before the tournament, there were problems with Corona, which is why preparatory games against Switzerland and Austria had to be canceled. Coach Greg Ireland is also infected with the corona virus and is likely to be absent from the bench against Germany. The assistants should take over if necessary.
Normally, in their group with Italy, they would find the relegated among themselves. So the main thing is not to sell yourself below value. Italy's weakened squad could help Kazakhstan avoid finishing last in the group.
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Originally planned as co-hosts, the Belarus team had to travel to Riga for political reasons. The home advantage is therefore already lost. Otherwise Belarus will hardly have any great ambitions. The most dangerous player is the 22-year-old center Yegor Sharangovich, who scored 16 goals in 54 games for the New Jersey Devils in the NHL this season.
Compete with a similar team as in previous years. The Danes have not reached the quarter-finals since 2016, and that is unlikely to change. NHL reinforcements like Nikolaj Ehlers, Frederik Andersen or Lars Eller are sorely missed.
Slovakia has an uncharacteristically young team this year, especially in defense. Among them is the 17-year-old Simon Nemec, who is traded as the top prospect for the NHL draft 2022. Samuel Knazno, drafted by Columbus last year, is also only 18 years old.
Marian Studenic is already in the NHL, but has not yet established himself in New Jersey. Otherwise the storm is a mix of players from the Swedish, Czech, Finnish and Slovak leagues.
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The northerners have not reached the quarter-finals of the Ice Hockey World Cup since 2012. For the German team, the clash with Norway in the group could be a decisive game. It can be assumed that both teams will act at about eye level. The same applies to Latvia.
Since there are no fans in the halls for the time being at the Ice Hockey World Championship, the home advantage is only small. The host's strength is the goalies. National coach Bob Hartley can choose between Matiss Kivlenieks, Janis Kalnins and Ivars Punnenovs.
The Latvians are not doing so well in defense. Five out of nine players are over 30 and the test games already showed that they are now struggling at high speeds.
Superstar Leon Draisaitl, also Dominik Kahun, Philipp Grubauer, Tim Stützle - nevertheless, the line-up of the German team is not to be despised.
Tobias Rieder comes from the NHL, but above all the future NHL professionals Moritz Seider (20), Lukas Reichel and John Peterka (both 19) are in the spotlight. Important leading players are the two-time Stanley Cup winner Tom Kühnhackl and the silver medalists Moritz Müller, Matthias Plachta and Marcel Noebels.
Overall, the DEB team is enormously young: nine players are a maximum of 25, ten players are contesting their first World Cup and only six professionals have ever played three or more world championships. But also veterans like Marcel Brandt or Fabio Wagner in defense and Daniel Fischbuch in attack are in excellent shape before their first World Cup.
Toni Söderholm has a good mix in the squad. In defense, a lot depends on Seider's constitution. He was named Defender of the Year in Sweden.
"Miracle on Ice" or not, the national team is traditionally far less important in US ice hockey than the NHL: The big stars such as Patrick Kane have decided against living again in a bubble - the back guard is enough for the third World Cup -Titles after 1933 and 1960 or is the USA a mere pseudo giant?
The biggest weakness in the US team is defense. Only Matt Roy and Matt Tennyson came this season regularly in the NHL, with Tennyson in New Jersey was anything but convincing.
Otherwise there are a lot of AHL and college players who have yet to show their qualities at World Cup level. It looks better in a storm. Most of the scoring threat comes from Jason Robertson, who scored almost one point per game as a rookie with the Dallas Stars. (Ice Hockey World Championship: Schedule and Results)
Patrick Fischer has been putting together a good team with the right mix of local and NHL-experienced, young and experienced players for years. Roman Josi is missing, who would have made the Swiss defense a little stronger. Nevertheless, the mix in the team seems to be right.
There are offensive specialists like Santeri Alatalo, Janis Moser or Raphael Diaz, strong defenders like Jonas Siegenthaler, Mirco Müller and Tobias Geisser. The showpiece in the Swiss storm are the three NHL professionals Nico Hischier, Timo Meier and Philipp Kurashev. Three years ago, Switzerland was runner-up in the world championship, and with a well-rehearsed team it could even be a big hit.
Five players from the NHL and numerous others from the strong domestic league, but also an extremely large number of cancellations: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has to suspend the season due to heart problems, many other stars such as Arizona's Oliver Ekman-Larssen have canceled after a turbulent NHL season.
Viktor Fasth could become a key player. The former NHL goalkeeper is in his fifth World Cup and, despite his advanced age of 38, was the best goalkeeper in the Swedish league (catch rate of 93.4 percent in 31 games).
Overall, however, one must be clear: Sweden has already sent stronger teams to a World Cup.
4. Czech Republic
Many good players from the NHL and the KHL are there, but the biggest plus point is probably to be found on the bench. Petr Nedved is a GM and has a lot of experience. The Czechs have great potential at this World Cup.
Especially up front they look very dangerous this year. On the one hand, there are NHL strikers Jakub Vrana, Filip Zadina, Filip Chytil and Dominik Kubalik. In addition, there is National League top scorer Jan Kovar from EV Zug and Matej Stransky, who was recently voted the best player in the Czech league.
With their strong league, the Finns have similar prerequisites to Sweden - and should make better use of them: The NHL professionals Joonas Korpisalo and Roope Hintz are there, and Finland is entering the World Cup with a strong trio of goalies. Juho Olkinuora played an outstanding season at Magnitogorsk in the KHL and blocked 93.5 percent of the shots.
Harri Sätteri also impressed in the KHL (92.2 percent catch quota) and behind that one would have a regular goal from the Swedish league with Janne Juvonen. On paper, the team doesn't look like a world champion, but Finland won gold in 2019 with just such a team. A medal is definitely included.
Canada want to rehabilitate themselves after losing to Finland in the final in 2019. The Canadians have an enormous pool of players, after all, more than 40 percent of all NHL players are born in Canada, but the clash with the playoffs also means that "north of the border" means that more young players are involved in this tournament - and / or those who do not play the major roles in their clubs.
There is little experience, especially in defense, but a young man with the sonorous name of Owen Power. The 18-year-old is considered a possible number 1 pick for this year's draft. When it comes to attacking, Adam Henrique brings with him routine at the age of 31. At this World Cup, anything is possible for Canada from the quarter-finals to gold.
Enters the tournament as number two in the world rankings, but the big names like Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeni Malkin or Andrei Vasilevskiy are missing because of the NHL playoffs, injuries or personal reasons.
In return, young talented players move up, like Ivan Provorov from the NHL or Sergey Tolchinsky from the KHL, where the playoffs have already run. The goalies are also relatively inexperienced and young keepers. In defense, however, the Russians have seasoned NHL professionals, as well as the top performers from CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg.
All in all, Russia looks like the strongest World Cup team - whether the countable results will ultimately reflect that remains to be seen. It could definitely be the World Cup of surprises.
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