Chicago, IL — The final day of the IIHF Men’s World Championships set out with Team Russia taking on Team Finland for the bronze medal which would be followed by Team Sweden taking on Team Canada for the gold and silver medals.
I was sad to see the close of this two-week event for several reasons. It was still giving those of us whose teams were no longer in the NHL playoffs a last chance to see some of our players before summer starts.
As a huge international hockey fan I always love seeing the teams in the countries sweaters compete for rights of whose country really is the best. Now more than ever I won’t be passing up opportunities to see international hockey competitions.
With the NHL foregoing PyeongChang, South Korea Olympics in 2018 this maybe the last time we get to see some of these players on the international stage.
I am still holding out hope the NHL changes their mind but I don’t know. If the NHL does not go one would have to think that Russia will be the favorite to win gold with the majority of their players being from the KHL.
I personally loved watching this Russian team play, of course I am partial to Artermi Panarin as a Blackhawks fan. Bias aside, they were just flat out fun to watch. Because of Panarin I was rooting for Russia to get the bronze and they did not disappoint.
Panarin was again on the third line with Nikita Kucherov and Evgeni Kuznetsov. If nothing else Team Russia is consistent with their lines thanks Oleg Znarok.
Team Russia ended up winning the game 5-3 and the Bronze but the game was not as close as the score seemed until the third period where Team Russia started to do a bit of an implosion like they did against Team Canada. Today however their skill prevailed.
Panarin had a relatively quiet day with one assist but he did have plenty of opportunities that just didn’t get finished off. There were a couple of times he was in the slot area and deferred to shot by passing. I was screaming at my TV SHOOT Artemi.
His assist came on the lethal Russian power play where to say he exercised patience in getting the defender to go down and slid the puck to Gusev for the tally which again showcased Panarin’s vision and hockey sense.
Panarin knows more about hockey than I do and he is a skilled playmaker but in the NHL I would like him to shoot more especially in the slot with an open line to the goalie.
It will keep goalies guessing and defenders won’t know what he is doing which may open up ice space. Patrick Kane had to learn this as well and look how things have worked out for him.
So Panarin ended the game with 1A, 1SOG and ended the tournament with 17 points – 4G, 13A in one less game due to injury good enough to be the leading scorer points wise in the entire tournament and was named top forward.I’d say the little Breadman did pretty well for himself and his team. He will probably be named to the All Stars one would think.
The one thing in watching this tournament it was very apparent that for Panarin to develop more he needs to play in the NHL on the smaller ice because on the big ice and against none NHLers Panarin just dominates and the game is just too easy for him.
Congratulations to Team Russia and Artemi Panarin on winning Bronze.
The final game of the tournament had Marcus Kruger and Team Sweden taking on Team Canada for Gold.
The game was a very close affair with the goalies taking center stage. You would have to say Team Canada dominated the play until Viktor Hedman scored on a really weird knuckler from the point that he got past Canadian goalie Calvin Pickard to put Team Sweden up 1-0 late in the second period but Team Canada tied it up in the third.
The game went tied late into the third period and was forced into overtime it was just an awesome game and fitting that it was the gold medal game and it would go to overtime that was just end to end exchanges of chances. The only bad thing is that this game was decided by a shoot out which don’t get me started on that.
That is my only complaint about how these international IIHF tournaments are structured. I just don’t think medal rounds should be decided by non-hockey skills competitions. Still be that as it may it was Sweden who walked away with the Gold leaving Canada with the Silver.
Kruger had himself a good tournament he ended up with 3A. We all know what Kruger does for a team is not measured on the score card or stats sheets per say.
Congratulations Team Sweden on being Golden.
Again I’ve got to think this tournament was a success the crowds were good the competition was great. There were some upsets like the Swiss beating Canada and the USA getting beat by both Germany and Finland.
The European crowds look like one big party with their singing, whistling, flag waving, banging drums and dancing in their seats and along the concourses. They seem to have more fun than we do over here in North America. I actually prefer the whistling to goalie chants just a side note.
After seeing this and the World Juniors I now have this on my bucket list to go to an IIHF event either Men’s Worlds or World Juniors because even on the TV it comes across as a blast. Well done.
Congrats to Artemi and Marcus you guys were awesome I would’ve preferred watching you in Chicago Blackhawks uniforms but glad I at least got to see you a little while longer. Enjoy your summers and I can’t wait to see you in Blackhawks training camp.
Is it September yet?