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 2011 IIHF World Championships: Wild Edition

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PostSubject: 2011 IIHF World Championships: Wild Edition   2011 IIHF World Championships: Wild Edition I_icon_minitimeSun May 01, 2011 6:40 pm

2011 IIHF World Championships: Wild Edition

2011 IIHF World Championships: Wild Edition

Written by Derek Felska | 01 May 2011

Happy May Day everyone! Most North American hockey fans are wrapped up in the NHL playoffs; but its not the only hockey still being played in the spring. The American Hockey League is also grinding its way through another exciting post-season; with defending champion the Hershey Bears already eliminated by the upstart Charlotte Checkers. However, go to Europe the professional leagues are finished playing; the championships have already been handed out with just one more left to go. That would be the International Ice Hockey Federation's annual World Championship tournament being held in Slovakia this season. For many NHL'ers whose respective seasons have concluded early in the playoffs our out of it altogether they voyage to the World Championshps to represent their nation. The performances in the World Championships are meaningful as poor performances can bring about relegation; so while we may laugh about how one-sided some of the contests may turn out to be every game matters especially to those national teams sitting on the fringe.

Here are the national groupings for the preliminary round of the 2011 IIHF World Championships.

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D
Czech Republic

The Wild have a number of players participating in this year's tournament; two of which are Wild prospects as well as a pretty sizeable amount of former members and prospects. You could almost field a Wild team with the amount of Wild-connected players in this tournament. Cal Clutterbuck and Brent Burns are playing for Team Canada, Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky are playing for Czech Republic, prospect goaltender Dennis Endras playing for Germany, and lastly Mikko Koivu and top forward prospect Mikael Granlund for Finland. You can also see some former Wild prospects in former 4th round (117th Overall, 2004) pick Julien Sprunger playing for Switzerland as well as another 4th round (122nd Overall, 2005) Morten Madsen playing for Denmark and lastly a former 5th round pick (155th Overall, 2002) Armands Berzins playing for Latvia. As well as former Wild players Branko Radivojevic, Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik playing for Slovakia as well as former Wild defenseman Martin Skoula for Czech Republic and Rickard Wallin for Sweden. For Team USA there is another small contingent of Minnesota-born players serving as its core including Blake Wheeler, Derek Stepan, Clay Wilson, Mark Stuart and Ryan McDonagh. This certainly is not at the level of Olympic hockey but its competitive and meaningful games for players to continue to hone their skills. Especially for Wild prospects Endras and Granlund it is a chance to see how some of these guys perform when playing in games with NHL level talent present. I will try to provide regular updates as to how these Wild players are performing at the World Championships. Shall we begin? (click on the link for the rest of the article)

Its been an interesting tournament thus far; with Germany beating Russia and Slovakia so far and both of those clubs have quite a few NHL'ers on their rosters. Tons of Wild connections throughout. I'll try to keep updating the individual stats if you click on the article. Enjoy!
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