Hockey Wilderness World Championship Viewing Guide

He looks happy. Good for him.

What is a Minnesota Wild fan to do? The Stanley Cup playoffs are in their second round, and the interest in keeping up with them is fading. When it comes down to pulling for the Devils, just so the Wild get an extra pick... things are bad. Really bad. Being forced to cheer for the Canucks bad.

Alas, the Wild fan in all of you has new life. The World Championships start today, and there is plenty of fun to be had. The Wild have six players involved, though many of them will be in rather limited ways. Still, it is a chance to see the Kaptain in action again, and see the Swedish Finnish Jesus on the ice.

After the jump, a look at what the tournament is, who is there, and why you should watch.

The Tournament

The World Championships are... well... just that. It is a quasi-Olympic tournament with players representing their countries, etc, etc. The biggest thing with this tourney, however, is that the best in the world aren't always involved. Keep in mind that most of the best players are in their tournaments back at home. The Cup playoffs, the AHL playoffs, and the playoffs across Canadian juniors all keep some of the best in the world away.

The tournament consists of 64 total games, with 16 teams split into eight 8 team divisions. They played round-robin style in the prelims, then the top teams advance into a single elimination playoff for the gold. Your reigning champions are your Kaptain and Suomi.

The US, Canada, and Finland are all in the same division, opposite Russia, Sweden, and the Czech Republic as the teams you will recognize the most names on.

Who is There

There will be plenty of NHLers there, and as mentioned above, the Wild are represented by six players. Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund for Finland, Johan Larsson and Jonas Brodin for Sweden, Matt Hackett for Canada, and Dennis Endras for Germany.

Larsson and Brodin are likely to be scratched more often than not, playing a fill in role. Hackett is the third string goalie, and Endras is not as exciting as it would have been two years ago. However, Koivu and Granlund will be big players in the tournament, and will make an impact on the results.

Nearly every team has someone with NHL ties involved, so there is some talent around. To be sure, this is not the Olympics, and the super elite level players are not there.

Why You Should Watch

What the heck else are you going to do? Seriously. This is your chance to see hockey, played on a top level, involving the captain of the Wild and the prize prospect. How you can just pass up on that is beyond me. Unless, of course, you are like me, and enjoy sleeping.

Need more reasons? Wild.com has you covered.

How You Can Watch

NBC Sports Network will be carrying all team USA games live. There is also a live (and legal) streaming channel for the rest of the games, but there is some question about whether or not it will work in the US. For those wanting to watch some games, if available, the schedule can be found HERE. Keep in mind, Finland is eight hours ahead of us here in Minnesota.

Games Today:

Fri, May 4

1

11:15/12:15

Helsinki

USA

vs.

France

Fri, May 4

2

12:15/13:15

Stockholm

Germany

vs.

Italy

Fri, May 4

3

15:15/16:15

Helsinki

Canada

vs.

Slovakia

Fri, May 4

4

16:15/17:15

Stockholm

Czech Rep.

vs.

Denmark

Fri, May 4

5

19:15/20:15

Helsinki

Belarus

vs.

Finland

Fri, May 4

6

20:15/21:15

Stockholm

Sweden

vs.

Norway

The second time listed is Helsinki time. So, subtract 8 hours, and you have our time. In other words, by the time most of you read this, the USA game will have been over for hours. Likely, the only game that you can still watch in its entirety is Sweden vs Norway.

If you want to watch these games, you're going to need to adjust your sleep cycles a bit. That, or fly over and stay with our Irish friends for the duration.

Since the games are so far ahead here is tomorrow's schedule for planning purposes:

Sat, May 5

7

14:00/15:00

Helsinki

Switzerland

vs.

Kazakhstan

Sat, May 5

8

16:15/17:15

Stockholm

Latvia

vs.

Russia

Sat, May 5

9

18:00/19:00

Helsinki

Canada

vs.

USA

Sat, May 5

10

20:15/21:15

Stockholm

Sweden

vs.

Czech Rep.

Enjoy the games, folks.

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