USA Drops Russia in the Other Hockey Tournament
Understandably, the annual IIHF World Championship gets pushed to a side ring in North America every spring.
That'll happen when one of the world's oldest team trophies is up for grabs at the same time.
But in Europe, the Worlds still draw the hockey-crazed crowds, and the world's Big Six still take to their clashes with the highest level of intensity. That'll happen when players represent their nations.
The preliminary round is basically a warm-up for the perennial powers and a public relations exercise for the field. So while the likes of Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, and France battle for status -- ie- avoiding relegation and pining for the occasional upset -- the big clubs start laying down markers and playing for seeding.
As teams fall by the wayside on the other side of the Atlantic, reinforcements filter into rosters at this event, so it's entirely likley these squads will look different when the bracket play begins on Thu 14 May, which is when the rubber meets the road.
And at that point, who knows where the rubber will be?