Perhaps a tad early to start this thread, but whatever.
There are a couple of changes to the format this time around:
Instead of dividing the 16 teams into four groups of four, and then have the three best from each group merge with the three best from some other group to play three more games before deciding the quarter final matchups, this time they're going with two groups of eight. This means all teams will play seven roundrobin games instead of six. It also means that the worst teams, the ones that were eliminated after three round robin games already, now get to play more games, which supposedly will help them develop.
An interesting new feature is also that games will be played in Finland as well as in Sweden. Sure, this was tried in the 1930 tournament already, when games were split between Chamonix, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany, but otherwise the World Championship has always been held within one country. What happened was that after it had been decided that Finland would host the games in 2012 and Sweden in 2013, the two nations decided that by splitting the roundrobin games between them both years, and let both Sweden and Finland play all their games at home, they could generate more interest and sell more tickets. Quarter finals will be played within the groups, but then the semi finals, the gold and the bronze game will all be played in Finland in 2012 and in Sweden in 2013.
Finally, last year the NHL regular season ended on April 4th, and the first playoff round ended on April 27th. The World Championship was held between April 29th and May 15th.
This year the NHL regular season ends on April 7th and the World Championship is held between May 4th and 20th.
This means that the Stanley Cup quarter finals should have ended before the important games begin over in Helsinki/Stockholm, and could mean that there will be more and better NHL players taking part!
This is how the roundrobin groups look:Helsinki:
Official website: http://www.iihf.com/channels-12/iihf-wo ... /home.html