World Hockey Championships 2012: Bracket, Schedule, Predictions and More

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World Hockey Championships 2012: Bracket, Schedule, Predictions and More
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

It may not be the Olympics, the World Junior Championships or even the old World Cup of Hockey, but the annual World Hockey Championships are set to begin from the Nordic gems of Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland on Friday.

The World Hockey Championships are a yearly event that begins during the second round of the NHL playoffs. The rosters are largely filled with NHL players whose teams failed to make the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round, although, there will also be plenty of professionals from other leagues across the world, as well as some top amateurs.

While it may not be a true representation of each country's hockey prowess, the World Hockey Championships are a great way to whet the appetite of any fan of international hockey since countries are only able to field their very best teams every four years for the Olympics.

With all of that said, here is your guide for the World Hockey Championships, complete with groupings, a full schedule and when and where you can catch every single contest.

 

 

Where: Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland

 

When: Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 20

 

Watch: NBC Sports Network (will air all USA games, one semi-final and the final)

 

Live Stream: IIHF.com

 

 

Groups (Top four from each group advance to medal rounds)

 

Group H

Harry How/Getty Images
Mikko Koivu of Team Finland

Belarus

Canada

Finland

France

Kazakhstan

Switzerland

Slovakia

United States of America

 

Group S

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Henrik Zetterberg of Team Sweden

Czech Republic

Denmark

Germany

Italy

Latvia

Norway

Russia

Sweden

 

 

Schedule (via IIHF.com) 

 

FRI, MAY 4

1              5:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     United States of America vs. France

2              5:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Germany vs. Italy

3              9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     Canada vs. Slovakia

4              9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Czech Republic vs. Denmark

5              1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki     Belarus vs. Finland

6              1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Sweden vs. Norway

SAT, MAY 5

7              8 a.m. ET     Helsinki     Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan

8              9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Latvia vs. Russia

9              12 p.m. ET Helsinki       Canada vs. United States of America

10            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Sweden vs. Czech Republic

SUN, MAY 6

11            5:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     France vs. Kazakhstan

12            5:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Denmark vs. Italy

13            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     Finland vs. Slovakia

14            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Russia vs. Norway

15            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki     Switzerland vs. Belarus

16            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Germany vs. Latvia

MON, MAY 7

17            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     France vs. Canada

18            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Czech Republic vs. Norway

19            1:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     United States of America vs. Slovakia

20            1:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Denmark vs. Sweden

TUE, MAY 8

21            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     Belarus vs. Kazakhstan

22            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Latvia vs. Italy

23            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki     Finland vs. Switzerland

24            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Russia vs. Germany

WED, MAY 9

25            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     Slovakia vs. Kazakhstan

26            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Norway vs. Italy

27            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki     Canada vs. Switzerland

28            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Sweden vs. Germany

THU, MAY 10

29            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki     United States of America vs. Belarus

30            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm Denmark vs. Russia

31            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki     France vs. Finland

32            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm Czech Republic vs. Latvia

FRI, MAY 11

33            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Kazakhstan vs. United States of America

34            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Italy vs. Czech Republic

35            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki      Finland vs. Canada

36            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm  Russia vs. Sweden

SAT, MAY 12

37            5:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Slovakia vs. Belarus

38            5:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Norway vs. Latvia

39            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Switzerland vs. France

40            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Germany vs. Denmark

41            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki      Kazakhstan vs. Canada

42            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm  Italy vs. Sweden

SUN, MAY 13

43            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Finland vs. United States of America

44            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Russia vs. Czech Republic

45            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki      Switzerland vs. Slovakia

46            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm  Germany vs. Norway

MON, MAY 14

47            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki       Belarus vs. France

48            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm   Latvia vs. Denmark

49            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki       Kazakhstan vs. Finland

50            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm   Italy vs. Russia

TUE, MAY 15

51            5:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Canada vs. Belarus

52            5:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Norway vs. Denmark

53            9:15 a.m. ET Helsinki      Slovakia vs. France

54            9:15 a.m. ET Stockholm  Czech Republic vs. Germany

55            1:15 p.m. ET Helsinki      United States of America vs. Switzerland

56            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm  Sweden vs. Latvia

PLAY-OFF ROUND QUARTERFINALS

THU, MAY 17

57            6 a.m. ET Helsinki                  TBD         

58            7:45 a.m. ET Stockholm         TBD         

59            11:30 a.m. ET Helsinki            TBD        

60            1:15 p.m. ET Stockholm         TBD        

PLAY-OFF ROUND SEMIFINALS

SAT, MAY 19

61            7:30 a.m. ET Helsinki             TBD         

62            11:30 a.m. ET Helsinki            TBD         

PLAY-OFF BRONZE MEDAL GAME

SUN, MAY 20

63            9 a.m. ET Helsinki   L61                          vs.                           L62

PLAY-OFF ROUND GOLD MEDAL GAME

SUN, MAY 20

64            1:30 p.m. ET Helsinki             W61                         vs.                           W62

 

Teams to Watch

 

Canada

Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

As is the case in every international tournament, Canada will be a force to be reckoned with in this year's tournament. The Canadians have disappointed in the World Championships in recent years, particularly last year when they failed to medal, but they have a roster stacked with NHL talent that promises to be the most complete in the competition.

Not only are they strong between the pipes with former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Award winner Cam Ward in goal, but their depth of scoring is incredible thanks to stars like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, John Tavares, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and others. Canada is considered the favorite every year, and that is true once again in 2012.

 

 

USA

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Americans generally don't seem to put as much effort into fielding a competitive roster in this tournament as Canada and some of the high-end European nations, but they look to have their best group of talent in quite some time. The Americans managed to reach the quarterfinals last year and finished eighth, but an improvement seems quite possible.

USA's true advantage will be in goal as Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings is one of the best backstops in the entire tournament. On top of that, the Americans have skilled forwards such as Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty, as well as a good defensive corps led by Jack Johnson and Alex Goligoski. The goal for Team USA is likely a medal of any color, and it is certainly possible.

 

Russia

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There is no doubt that the Russians have some holes on their roster as the defense lacks NHL talent and the forward depth is a bit shaky as well, but when it comes to top-flight stars, Russia heads this tournament. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings will both suit up for Russia, and that automatically makes them contenders for the gold.

The Russian selection committee also seemed to do a good job of getting players who play together in the KHL on the team, so there will be a great deal of similarity. The true key to Russia's success, though, will be Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. He played extremely well down the stretch this season and will need to be at his best in Stockholm.

 

Predictions

Gold - Canada

Silver - Sweden

Bronze - Russia

4th Place - USA

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