Beyond The Benches

Russia Dominating at the World Championships

During this year’s Olympics that were held in Sochi, Russia, the hockey team for Russia was expected to do big things while in front of their home crowd. That did not happen and Russia did not even make it to a medal game. It seems as though they have bounced back and have now won their first four games and have a total of 12 points, that far surpasses any other team in either of the groups.

Russia has no problem scoring goals. Four out of the top 5 scorers so far in the tournament are from Team Russia. Viktor Tikhonov (9 points), Alex Ovechkin (8 points), Sergei Plotnikov (7 points) and Danis Zaripov (7 points). The Russians have out scored their opponents 22 to 5 during their four games played and have had stellar goaltending not only from Sergei Bobrovski but their back-up Andrei Vasilevski.

Also in Russia’s group, and just behind them in the standings, is Team USA. The US has some young guys on their team this year, but most of those guys have International experience. Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy, Vince Trocheck and Johnny Gaudreau all played together during the 2012-13 World Junior Championship where they won the gold medal for the United States. Add that to the veteran leadership from Justin Abdelkader, Tim Stapleton and Tim Thomas and the US will be a team to look out for.

Over in Group A, Sweden is holding the top spot with eight points. Team Sweden has several NHLers that are playing for their country including Anders Nilsson from the New York Islanders, Erik Gustafsson from the Philadelphia Flyers and Gustav Nyquist from the Detroit Red Wings to name a few.

Next team in the standings behind Sweden is Team Canada. They are currently 2-0-1 in the tournament with seven points. The Canadians will need their goaltending duo of Ben Scrivens and James Reimer to improve just a little bit to have a good showing for the elimination rounds. They have plenty of offensive fire power with Jonathan Huberdeau, Kyle Turris, Sean Monahan, Nathan MacKinnon, Joel Ward and Nazem Kadri.

Today will see the US taking on Latvia, while Canada squares off against Denmark, Sweden faces France and Finland matches up against Switzerland.

Stay tuned to Beyond the Benches for more updates from the 2014 IIHF World Championships!

(Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot)