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World Cup of Hockey team-by-team look

World Cup of Hockey team-by-team look

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 12, 2016

The National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced today the schedule for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. From Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016, eight teams - Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America - will compete in a best-on-best international hockey championship.

The two-week tournament, featuring more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs®. A select number of tickets for the event will go on sale to the public Thursday, Nov. 12 at Ticketmaster.ca. Click here to sign up for ticket information, announcements and special offers.

A team-by-team look at the World Cup of Hockey

GROUP A

Canada

Odds10-11

Best World/Canada Cup resultsChampion 1976, 1984, 1987, 1991, 2004

Skinny: Coach Mike Babcock and 13 players return from the roster that won gold in the 2104 Sochi Olympics ... Sidney Crosby will wear the C, as he did for Canada's gold medals in both Sochi and Vancouver. ... Back from injury, Carey Price will handle the bulk of netminding duties. ... The defence is balanced with left- and right-handed shots. ... All but one forward are natural centres. ... Canada's success has been based on depth, giving it an ability to roll four lines and come at an opponent in waves. That's not likely to change this time around, and the NHL-sized ice surface should be an advantage.

United States

Odds: 13-2

World/Canada Cup history: Champion 1996

SkinnyJohn Tortorella brings his gruff style in as coach. … Goaltending (Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop, Cory Schneider) is Team USA's strongest position. … Joe Pavelski is the captain. … Greatness is expected of a rising American team, but disappointment seems to follow them around. … The U.S. is going for physical play with the likes of Justin Abdelkader and Brandon Dubinsky on a roster ahead of skilled players like Phil Kessel and Tyler Johnson. … The U.S. hopes their skilled players, like Patrick Kane, thrive on the smaller ice with bigger players making space for them.

Czech Republic

Odds: 22-1

Best World/Canada Cup resultsRunner-up 1976 (as Czechoslovakia)

SkinnyJosef Jandac has taken over the Czech program as coach. … Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens will be the captain. … Jakub Voracek and Ondrej Palat are their most dangerous shooter. … Jaromir Jagr declined an invitation . …The Czechs are expected to be an speedy, offensive-minded team. … The Czechs made it only as far as the quarter-finals in the world championships. … Petr Mrazek offers some hope in net but it looks a bit more like a middle-of-the-pack NHL team.

Europe

Odds: 33-1

Best World/Canada Cup results: First appearance

Skinny: Anze Kopitar is captain … Ralph Krueger, who was so instrumental in helping Canada in Sochi, is the head coach. … Players are drawn from countries other than Czech, Finland, Sweden and Russia, so they don't have much experience playing with each other, but the likes of Kopitar, Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara are all Stanley Cup champions. … Goaltending is a bit of a muddle with the withdrawal of Leaf goalie Frederik Andersen. … 

GROUP B

Sweden

Odds: 5-1

Best World/Canada Cup results: Runner-up, 1984

Skinny: Promoted from the junior program, Rikard Gronborg has taken over as head coach. … Henrik Sedin is captain. … Sweden's defence might be the most potent in the tournament, led by two-time Norris winner Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and behemoth Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning . ... The Swedes had the best power play at the Sochi Olympics (7-for-21) led by Nicklas Backstrom and the Sedin twins, all back again for the World Cup. ... The Swedes didn't make it past the quarter-finals at the world championships. … A healthy Henrik Lundqvist could be the difference-maker. It could be his last chance to shine internationally. … 

Russia

Odds: 9-2

Best World/Canada Cup resultsChampionship, 1981 (as USSR)

SkinnyThree-time KHL coach of the year Oleg Znarok will be behind the bench … Russia's strength is at forward, where Alex Ovechkin will lead a dynamic group of playmakers. ... Ovechkin is captain. … Russia won bronze at the world championships,led by the scoring touch of two KHLers: Vadim Shipachov and Yevgeni Dadonov, who'll get a chance to show their wares here … The Russians had better score because their goaltending (Sergei Bobrovski, Semyon Varlamov, Andrei Vasilevskiy) is suspect. … Leaf followers will get a chance to see Nikita Zaitsev up close for the first time, on a blue line that is at best middle-of-the-pack.

Finland

Odds: 14-1

Best World/Canada Cup results: Runner-up 2004

SkinnyLauri Marjamaki, at 39, is the youngest head coach at the World Cup … The Finnish hockey program is getting better. … The Finns lost to Canada in the world championships in May with many of these same players. … All eyes will be on Patrik Laine, the second overall pick in the June draft and youngest player in the tournament. In fact many of Finland's most skilled players are young, including Aleksander Barkov, Sebastian Aho and Olli Maata. … They still have a solid balance with veterans like Mikko Koivu, Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula. … And don't forget Tuukka Rask in net. Or Pekka Rinne. Either way, Finland is solid.

North America

Odds: 16-1

Best World/Canada Cup resultsFirst appearance

SkinnyEdmonton's Todd McLellan is head coach, and Connor McDavid is captain. … Only two players on this team of players 23 and under (with a cutoff date of Oct. 1) have reached 300 NHL games. … The team boasts five of the past six No. 1 overalls: Auston Matthews, McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. … It's not so much youth that is an issue, but international experience. The defence could be too green, although Morgan Rielly and Ryan Murray were on Canada's gold medal team at the world championships. … Some of these players, particularly McDavid (Canada), Jack Eichel (U.S.) and Seth Jones (U.S.) would have been considered for their national teams if not for the rules of this tournament. … With John Gibson and Matt Murray, goaltending is well served.

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