Russia favourites to defend title

The 2013 Ice Hockey World Championships takes place in both Sweden and Finland between May 3rd-19th. Can Russia defend their crown like they did in 2009, or maybe  Canada will claim their first title since 2007?

Russia search for 27th Ice Hockey World Championship


Defending Ice Hockey World Champion’s Russia are the 3.200* favourites with Pinnacle Sports to reclaim their title for the first time since 2007.


The Russians are the most successful nation in the history of the World Championships and are gunning to win their 27th title – winning four as Russia and 26 before  the break up of the Soviet Union.


Despite struggling between 1994 and 2004, which saw them win just one silver medal in 2002, Russia have won five medals in the last six years – three gold, one silver  and one bronze.


Russia have been drawn alongside 2011 winners Finland (8.030*), 2012 runners-up Slovakia, USA, Germany, Latvia, France and Austria in the preliminary rounds  hosted in Helsinki.


Can US break 79-year Duck?


The US have been frozen out of the medals for 79 years in the ice hockey World Championships. Although they did manage a medal in 1960 at the Squaw Valley Olympics,  this is generally not considered an official World Championship competition (none were held between 1920and 1968).


The American’s are still classed amongst the ‘Big Seven’ hockey nations despite the others wining at least one World Championship since 2000 – Canada (2003, 2004 &  2007), the Czech Republic (2000, 2001, 2005 & 2010), Finland (2011), Russia (2008,2009 & 2012), Slovakia (2002) and Sweden (2006).


The US are certainly capable of winning major tournaments – they won the 1980 Olympic gold medal and beat Canada in the best-of-three finals of the 1996 World Cup.  Despite not winning the World Championships, they have at least won a bronze medal twice in the last 49 years (1996 & 2004).


Last season, American players made up 23% of the NHL, their highest ever proportion, however, USA Hockey rarely taps into its best pool of players for the World  Championships.


With the tournament usually held in Europe during the NHL playoffs, a number of players are unavailable to play for the USA – although this also affects other nations  to some extent. The USA can be backed at 12.990* to end their World Championship drought.


Canada turn to Ruff to break European dominance?


With the last five winners coming from Europe, Canada will hope they can end this dominance.


The Canadians are the second-most decorated nation in the Ice Hockey World Championships with 23 wins. However, they have won only three titles since 1961.


Without a medal since 2009, Canada have turned to Lindy Ruff who was the last coach to win a medal when the Canadians claimed a silver medal after losing 2-1 to  Russia.


Ruff was relieved of his duties at the Buffalo Sabres in February in his 16th season on their bench and departed as the NHL’s longest-serving coach.


Canada’s world championship team is traditionally comprised of players whose NHL teams didn’t make the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round. However, like  the US team, assembling the roster this year had its complications due to the NHL lockout.


Canada have been drawn alongside 2010 winners Czech Republic (9.750*), Sweden (4.450*), Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Slovenia and Belarus in the  preliminary rounds hosted in Stockholm.


The Canadians can be backed at 3.720* with Pinnacle Sports to claim their 24th title and go four better than their fifth place finish in 2012 under Brent  Sutter.


2013 Ice Hockey World Championship format


Sixteen teams compete in two groups of eight during the preliminary rounds between the 3rd and 14th May with the top-four ranked teams of each group advancing to the  quarter-finals.


The quarter-finals will take place on May 16th with the semi-finals following two days later on the 18th.


The winning teams of the semi-final games advance to the gold medal game while the semi-final losing teams play for bronze. Both games will be staged in Stockholm on  May 19th.


Pinnacle Sports offer odds on every 2013 Ice Hockey World Championship game, click here to see the latest match odds.


(Source: Pinnacle)




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