2018 IIHF World Championship: Playoff Outlook

playoffoutlookThere is little doubt that the game of hockey is growing throughout the world and the biggest evidence is in the lower divisions.

Teams that have almost never seen the top division are now working their way amongst the best teams in the world.

This year it was the South Koreans who made their debut in the top division after investing money in the team ahead of the Olympics.

They won’t be the only surprise name though as the top division of the tournament begins just after the other divisions needed.

In Division IA the British earned their spot in the 2019 top division as one of the least traditional hockey nations is making their attempt at shocking the world.

They will be joined by the Italians who are making a habit of finding their way into the top division.

Neither Britain or Italy are known for their hockey prowess yet they will be among the biggest names in the game for 2019.

It is a sign of the times as international hockey is growing with more teams having a better chance of stepping up into the top of the heap.

It isn’t quite to the point where many wish it would be though as there is still a pretty big divide between the best teams and everyone else.

Although the bottom of this division is closing in on each other with more teams fighting to stay in the top division, the playoffs are still reserved for those few great teams.

Year after year the tournament sees surprises in the round robin but rarely do those surprises find their way to the playoffs.

A top team is pretty likely to lose a game against some team outside of their usual group but that doesn’t last.

These teams are usually able to figure things out and find their way to the playoffs where the tournament essentially starts over.

That is where the best teams rise to the top and showcase why they are considered the best in the world.

There aren’t many of them but every year they enter the World Championship with a good shot at the medals.

Canada, Finland, Russia, Sweden and USA are that small elite group that are truly the only ones that anyone considers to be in line for a medal.

The same will be the case this year as more teams will make the playoffs but these five teams will be the ones to watch.hockey-sidebar

The level of talent on these teams is greater than anywhere else as the depth and talent is just too much.

It makes for some boring games against the other teams but when they play each other it can be some of the best hockey you will see.

This year all five of these teams are bringing teams full of talent and it is hard to say who the favourite will be this time around.

When looking at the rosters the deepest seems to be the Canadians as they have talent throughout the roster all coming into their own.

That group of players seems to be the best but there is a lot of talent on every other team that could unseat them.

The Swedes did it last year and the Russians are never a team that can be counted out with the talent they continue to produce.

Although the Finns and the Americans have the talent to beat any of the other teams in the top they might not have quite enough this time around.

These five teams will once again be the favourites but the Canadians could take it all and win their third title in four years.

It doesn’t mean there can’t be a surprise as any of these teams could get complacent and lose far too early.

Until another team can step up and prove that they have what it takes the top five will battle and another collection of medals will go to familiar names.

playoffprediction

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