IIHF World Championships Rosters Shaping Up

Although not too many people in North America were watching the IIHF World Championships Division 1 Group B, it was quite an

Apr 9, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Tim Thomas (30) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at American Airlines Center. The Blue Jackets won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

entertaining tournament, that was featured in Lithuania. Many upsets occurred, and hometown legend Danius Zubrus even came to play once his NHL club, the New Jersey Devils, did not make the playoffs leading the team to a bronze. Croatia, fresh off of getting a new KHL team, surprised everyone by coming in second, while Poland took gold.The Division 1 Group A tournament was played in Korea. It consisted of a couple Asian countries, a couple Sochi Olympic hockey nations, Ukraine, and Hungary. Favourites Slovenia came out on top.

These tournament are just warming up to the premier event, the IIHF World Championships in Belarus, starting on May 9. The countries that have qualified for this event are Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Latvia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Team Canada will be coached by Dave Tippett, along with assistants Paul Maurice And Peter DeBoer. Their roster is mostly made up of young players, including the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Sean Monahan, Ryan Ellis, Kyle Turris, and Morgan Rielly. James Reimer, Justin Peters, and Ben Scrivens will probably be the goaltenders.

Team USA; coached by Peter Laviolette with assistants Joe Sacco, Phil Housley, and Don Granato; made many surprising picks to their roster. Although they picked young like Canada (Johnny Gaudreau and Connor Hellebuyck were picked directly out of college), Tim Thomas will likely be the starting goaltender. The veteran is past his prime, but he may give the young team experience. Another two players were picked from non-NHL teams (Peter Mueller from National League A in Switzerland and Tim Stapleton from the KHL).

Other roster notes from the rest of the field include Alex Ovechkin looking for redemption for Russia and legend Jaromir Jagr returning for yet another international tournament. Underdogs of the tournament are Switzerland (like always) and Germany (looking for redemption after Olympic snub).