Chicago, IL — So there is no NHL hockey still. That’s alright there is the IIHF U20 World Junior Championships that is getting ready to take place in Ufa, Russia from 12/26/12 – 1/5/13. If you love international competitions and cheering for your country then you should tune in. Granted with the time differential you may want to stay off social media and catch the encore presentations during prime time but do tune in. Why? What will you see?
Well for one thing there are prospects from every NHL team playing on one of the teams. This is a perfect opportunity to scout your teams prospects and take a glimpse at the future of your organization. There are also many 2013 draft eligibles playing as well like Seth Jones of Team USA and Nathan McKinnon of Team Canada.
The future of the NHL is being displayed and the hockey competition is good as well. The Canadians and American teams have been in a pre tournament games with Finland and Sweden. It is good they are having these games because both the Canadians and Americans need to adjust to European officiating which is called much closer to the vest than in North America.
There also is the differences in the game itself like IIHF does not employ the trapezoid and they also have the no touch icing rule so there are subtle little differences to the game when viewing. The most notable however is the style of play between the North Americans and the Europeans. Both the Canadian and US teams are much more physical in their style of play.
The tournament should be a good one with the USA, Canada, Slovakia, Germany & Russia all in one pool. Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and the Chech Republic all in the other pool. One would have to think that the advantage would go to Sweden the defending champs and Finland as they are in the weaker of the two pools but you never know.
If you are in Canada coverage can be seen on TSN or heard on TSN radio. In the USA coverage is being broadcast on the NHLN or can be heard on TSN’s website with streaming radio. This is the link to the schedule on NHL.com http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=12331&navid=nhl:topheads
This may just be the only positive to come from the NHL lockout is there is time to watch the IIHF WJC. For Canada this tournament is nothing new as they always tune in but in the states that has not been the case. Maybe now with the absence of NHL games the US will discover what Canada already knew and in the process see the future of the NHL and some damn good hockey too. GO TEAM USA!