Wild World Championships
Sometimes, you just can’t get enough hockey, even if you’ve played through a grueling stretch of 82 regular season National Hockey League games. While the majority of the Minnesota Wild roster is scattered throughout the globe, rehabbing injuries, spending time with family or sipping on Arnie Palmers in the clubhouse, three Wild players are still battling on frozen water in Latvia.
Wild defensemen Nick Schultz (Canada) and Martin Skoula (Czech Republic), and center Mikko Koivu (Finland), are taking part in this year’s tournament, which kicked off on May 6. Additionally, two Wild prospects, Morten Madsen (Denmark) and Grigory Misharin (Russia) are earning their international stripes. Of course, we can’t forget about the best Team Doctor in the NHL, Donny “Doc” Fuller, who is tending to the injured Canadians.
For more first hand information, you can listen to the latest Wild PONDcast, which features Clay Matvick, who is calling games for usahockey.com.
While the points haven’t been easy to come by for the Wild players, the wins have. Through the preliminary round, the Canadians, Czechs and Finns are a combined 6-0-3. Russia, along with Canada, is the only team with three wins in three games. Denmark lost all three preliminary round games.
Schultz has already won World Championship gold with Canada in 2004. He’s helped the Canadians to a 3-0-0 record, including a tight 2-1 victory over the United States on Tuesday. Schultz has one assist in three games, as well as eight shots on goal and a +1 rating. The win over the United States clinched a Group D win for Canada.
Skoula is also in his second World Championship stint. He was a part of the 2004 national team. The Litomerice native has been held without a point in three games, but he has put nine shots on goal. The defending champion Czechs finished second in Group A.
Koivu is making his World Championships debut, but he is no stranger to international competition. He has been a part of Finland’s second place finishes in both the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 Winter Olympics. Koivu is a +1 with three shots on goal in three games. Finland won Group A with a 2-0-1 record.
Thus far, Misharin and Madsen have each been held out of game competition.
Following the Preliminary Round, teams are re-seeded within their Groups according to points (two points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss). The top three teams in each Group advance to the Qualification Round to play in three crossover games against the opposite Group in its bracket.
The single-elimination Quarterfinal Round begins on May 17 and 18. The tournament concludes with the championship game on May 21.