The World Cup of Hockey is in the books and, as expected, Canada won. As always, these are real questions from my brain.
So, that was a waste of time, right?
Definitely not. Yes, Canada won and the final lost some luster when Team Europe knocked out Sweden, but Europe played Canada tough in the final, there were good games throughout the tournament, and it created a buzz surrounding this NHL season.
Europe didn’t nearly win. Canada almost lost.
That’s fair. Europe clearly seemed to want it more, they just didn’t have the skill to match Canada. I think if Canada didn’t sleep walk through half the finals, especially game two, it wouldn’t have been that competitive. But give Europe credit, they gave Canada their best shot and if it wasn’t for Carey Price, they might have stole game two.
Who boosted their stock in the tournament?
Brad Marchand got a 8-year deal worth $49 million, so that’s pretty good. Dennis Seidenberg, who wasn’t on a NHL team before the tournament started, signed with a really good Islanders team to play in front of Jaroslav Halak, his goalie for Team Europe.
I think everyone on Team North America boosted their stock. Especially Nathan MacKinnon and Conor McDavid, the two best players on the team during the tournament.
However, I walked away most impressed with Roman Josi. The Team Europe defense was, on paper, average at best. They were older and filled with fringe NHL guys. Josi stepped up and was the best defenseman on the ice on most nights. I hate to say this as a hater of Steve Cook, but Josi and P.K. Subban isn’t going to be fair in Nashville. Either those two are split and Nashville is able to create two pairs of shutdown defenses that can score, or they’re played together and the other team may never touch the puck.
Can Team USA be saved?
Of course. They just need new blood. Guys like Brett Hull and Chris Chelios have already started that they would like to help select the team in the coming years, and I think that’s a step in the right direction. Team USA just needs a change in philosophy. Instead of building a team to beat Canada, just build the best possible team.
Do you think this will be a yearly thing?
Most of that depends on whether or not the NHL participates in the Olympics. If they participate in the 2018 Olympics, there’s no way a World Cup of Hockey is held that year. But if they don’t, I’d imagine this becomes a regular thing.
What tweaks would you make to the tournament?
I’d push the date up a bit just so it doesn’t interfere with the start of NHL camps. I’d also change the tournament structure. I’m fine with the Group Round Robin structure, but I’d give the winner of the Group a bye and add a quarterfinal round between the #2 and #3 teams. That gives every game in Group play importance. I’d also add a bronze medal game.
But USA still would’ve failed to qualify for the tournament under your changes.
Well, they shouldn’t suck.