2017 IIHF World Championship: Playoff Outlook

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The World Championship is an attempt by the IIHF to figure out who is truly the best hockey country in the world.

It doesn’t always accomplish that goal though as the best players don’t necessarily show up for the tournament every year.

From year to year, the teams change depending on how things are shifting in the NHL throughout the playoffs.

Even part way through teams will add better players in order to see if they can find a better result when their better players become available.

So the argument against this tournament is that it never really pits the best against the best but on the other side it might just prove who is the better nation after all.

Yes, the best players from every country don’t necessarily participate in the tournament from year to year.

For most people that is the end of the argument as the best against the best is the only way to figure out who has the best players.

There might be another way though as year to year teams are different and countries see ups and downs.

One team might determine who is the best in the world for two weeks in May but it doesn’t prove which country is truly the best in the sport.

The best way to figure that out is to determine not only what team but what system works best throughout the world of hockey.

To prove that teams, need to be ready to compete without their best players and with their B or even C teams.

Doesn’t that truly reflect who the best in the world truly is because anyone can be pretty good when their best show up but only the best countries in the world can win when they are playing a few men down?

It is certainly not the goal of the IIHF to prove who has the best teams without their best players but it is what has happened.

The World Championships will never contain the best in the world, so long as they run directly into the NHL playoffs.

What they do have though is the best hockey countries in the world proving that their talent runs deeper than the cream of the crop.hockey-sidebar

The Canadians and Russians have done this throughout the history of the World Championship as they are often hurt the most, at least in terms of numbers, by the timing.

Yet every year they bring together teams that can win gold medals and that are deeper than any other team in the tournament.

That is because the systems that exist in both countries are better than any other system in the world.

Hockey is a way of life in both countries and the best athletes gravitate towards those sports more than any other.

There are plenty of other countries that have the same environment yet for one reason or another they do not have the same system.

Teams are getting better as the 2017 tournament will show with more than just those two dominant teams having a shot.

The Finns are one of the best teams in the world right now after winning medals at every level over the last three years.

Their neighbours in Sweden are not riding the same high but they are still a team with a lot of talent.

The USA continues to grow and close the gap between them and their two biggest rivals.

Any of these teams could take home the gold this year because they depth of talent from their countries is reaching a level where they don’t need their superstars.

With pressure and a need to play like a team weighing on all of the best teams, there is no guarantee that any one of them wins the gold this year.

With the level of talent, the Russians and Canadians are still by far the favourites but they can’t sleep on a young American and Finnish teams.

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