2017 IIHF World Championship Report (Day 4)

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As the fourth day of the World Championship officially got underway a lot of the focus from the hockey world was still a distance away.

The NHL playoffs will always take precedence for most hockey fans because it involves the majority of the best players in the sport.

They are on the best teams with the biggest budgets playing for one of the world’s greatest sports trophies.

Yet despite a lot of focus turning to North America, there is another group of hockey people that are keeping their focus squarely in Europe.

Despite the fact that the playoffs are going on there are plenty of hockey people looking to the future.

For some teams, the playoffs mean nothing this year and instead they are looking to get better and hopefully be playing at this point next year.

The only way to do that is to find more talent and of course, there are plenty of different ways to do that but one is to find talent from outside of the NHL that may already have some experience.

Europe is full of talent that has not been entirely discovered or given a chance because the NHL is like every other professional league, cutthroat.

There isn’t a lot of time for most teams to sit and wait for a prospect to get going and so they tend to look for players who can help as soon as possible.

Not everyone well and for some teams a few years in the AHL is worth the risk of drafting or signing a young player.

Not everyone will make it though and for a lot of players, Europe is the next best thing with leagues throughout the region playing competitive hockey.

Not every league is made equal but there is still talent in these leagues and the really good scouting groups can pick that talent out.

Sometimes it is just a kid in Europe who never quite got the look he deserved and is beginning to make a difference in his home country or one of the big leagues in the region.

Other times it can be a guy that got his shot in the NHL or AHL but never matured quick enough and found himself in Europe hoping to get back.

Any number of reasons can lead good players to Europe and all it takes is a scout to come by and determine that they are worth a risk.

The World Championships can prove to be a great place for scouts to figure out what is out there in Europe.

They may have taken a look the big leagues but it is still tough to see everyone and the World Championship brings the best players from every country to one, or two, locations.

The best players can show that they can hang with the best players in the world and for some NHL teams it is a good indication of success.hockey-sidebar

So scouts are looking to Cologne and Paris as they take a look at the best players Europe has to offer with the possibility of finding a diamond in the rough.

On team has already pounced on someone they believe will be a big factor in their upcoming season and immediately they signed a building block.

The Vegas Golden Knights are gearing up for their first season ever and as a part of that, they are now free to sign players not a part of the NHL.

They added former Minnesota draft pick and former Brandon Wheat King forward Reid Duke as their first official signing.

This past week the NHL’s newest franchise added a second name to their roster as Vadim Shipachyov.

Shipachyov is a KHL free agent and a current member of the Russian national team.

The Knights made the signing official just before the start of the World Championship and they are likely keeping a close eye on their latest addition.

His play in the tournament so far has likely kept them calm as he has proven to be a top scorer for the Russians this year.

With six points so far in the tournament, some teams are probably wondering why they didn’t go after him sooner.

He was a high target for some teams who were waiting for the tournament to see if they’re expectations could be met.

He won’t be the only one though as every year the World Championships brings a few players closer to the NHL.

Teams and scouts will continue to watch as the tournament continues on and those players without an NHL home could be playing for their careers.

Some might get signed after the tournament and there may not be any signings but impressive performances are all a scout needs to take a chance.

day-4

Day 4:
Russia 6-3 Germany
– The Russians remained a favourite as they continued to run through the rest of the competition this time taking out the home Germans to remain undefeated through their first three games

Canada 6-0 Belarus
– Belarus has often given the Canadians a hard time in international tournaments but that wasn’t the case this time around as the Canadians had an easy go with Belarus as they took their third straight win

USA 4-3 Sweden
– For the Americans, the tournament did not start off the way they were hoping but they recovered well and that includes this big game against the swedes that got them right back on track in the tournament

Czech Republic 4-3 Finland
– Finland looked like they were about to recover from a surprising loss to the French as they were beating the Czechs 3-0 early but they blew the lead allowing the Czechs back into the game and then dropping the game in overtime

Day 5:
Italy vs. Latvia (Tuesday, May 9th; 10:15 am ET)
– After a strong start to their tournament, the Latvians are looking to continue their winning ways and get closer to the playoff spot they are hunting while the Italians try to get their first win of the tournament

Slovenia vs. Norway (Tuesday, May 9th; 10:15 am ET)
– Norway has done a good job of staying out of the bottom of their group and they will try to get that much closer to a playoff spot with their second win while the Slovenians need a win to keep their hopes of staying in the top tier alive

Slovakia vs. Denmark (Tuesday, May 9th; 2:15 pm ET)
– This match-up see two teams fighting for their chance to stay in the top tier of the tournament as both have struggled this year and their first win could be the difference in keeping them out of Division I-A

Switzerland vs. France (Tuesday, May 9th; 2:15 pm ET)
– France is looking to ride the momentum of their big win against the Finns as they take on Switzerland in a game where they could gain another three points and start competing for a playoff spot

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