The World Cup is one part NHL cash grab and another part the owners’ excuse for not allowing NHL players to go to the next Winter Olympics. When the World Cup was first announced to have returned, it felt like very little was at stake. What are the players on the North America and Europe teams even playing for? Why should any of the players care? Is it just going to be a longer version of the All-Star Game? Such questions and doubts were pretty common leading up to the first few exhibition games. However, now that the weekend is over and we’ve seen a few games, it looks like we might be in for an interesting little tournament.
Unless you’re rooting for the US or Europe, that is.
With an average of 50 hits and 30 blocked shots per game, these few exhibition games have almost looked to have as much high energy and physical intensity as playoff games, especially compared to the All-Star Game.
Team USA in particular seemed to have set out to establish their #Grit on Friday, and Team Canada certainly responded in kind.
Kesler gets a boarding major pic.twitter.com/v4g6AFesIX— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 10, 2016
how the events at the conclusion of the 2nd period unfolded, more or less pic.twitter.com/Vb1dKAvgHk— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 11, 2016
(Side note: If you have a Twitter account and don’t currently follow Stephanie @myregularface, you really should do that)
Again, these are only exhibition games, and if you’re sitting there thinking about writing articles, it can really get you thinking.
What is the rest of the tournament going to look like? No one wants to see low intensity games, especially in a supposedly high-stakes tournament. Hopefully these NHL players and coaches remember that they still have an 82 game regular season and even more intense playoffs to get to. A few players have already been injured, and we would all hate to see more follow suit. In fact, during the first USA vs. Canada game, Tyler Seguin muscled past Suter in a race for the puck and Suter’s stick accidentally got caught up in Seguin’s skates, sending him into the boards. Seguin later returned, but it ultimately could have been worse.
How can GM’s sleep at night? Between the slight added confusion to training camps and the heightened possibility of losing one of their top players before the season even begins, the World Cup is looking like one of a GM’s worst nightmares.
In any case, hockey is back, and in a much more fun way than a few preseason games where Scandella, Haula, and Dumba get to be captains for a night.
If you couldn’t catch any of the games this weekend, some of the Wild players made good impressions while others left us temporarily disappointed.
Each played 2 games
Zach Parise: 1 goal
Ryan Suter: 1 assist
Nino Niederreiter: 0 points
Mikko Koivu: 1 goal 2 assists
Mikael Granlund: 1 goal
Erik Haula: 1 goal
For a full schedule of this week’s games and where to watch them, you can check out ESPN’s listed schedule.