The NHL offseason is quickly coming to a close, as the preseason gets underway. In the meantime, many of the best players are competing in a battle of the best, a competition akin to the Olympics of hockey. The two-week tournament, held in Toronto, began on the Sept. 17 and is in the midst of a best-of-three championship round to decide the very best.
Six national teams, from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Canada, the U.S. and the Czech Republic, along with a Team Europe and Team North America, make up the field for this tournament.
Team North America is composed of players under 23 years old from Canada and the U.S., while Team Europe is a collection of players from countries not listed above.
The first rounds (twelve total games) held a few exciting finishes, including two overtimes and three one-goal games. Finland and the Czech Republic weren’t able to get off the ground, winning only one game between the two of them. The United States fell off the map quickly, losing all three of their round robin games, including a surprise opening shutout defeat at the hands of Team Europe.
Team North America brought a positive showing to the field, ending up missing the semi-final by a head-to-head tiebreaker. Russia and Sweden, of Group B, were able to escape the second group into the semifinals, but both fell just short of making the final round. Canada, meanwhile, came out swinging, however, having won every match so far with a total goal differential of 22-7.
At the time of publication, it is likely that the winner will have been decided, but as it stands at writing, Team Europe will need to face Canada at least twice to dethrone odds-on favorites to win.