Two of the pre-tournament games are being played here in Pittsburgh today at the CONSOL Energy Center:
Team Czech Republic vs. Team North America
Team Canada vs. Team Russia
I'm watching the latter on ESPN2 as I write this. HAVE I MENTIONED, I CANT WAIT FOR HOCKEY SEASON TO START?? Yeah. I'm glad to be watching hockey again, and looking forward to watching the World Cup, which starts this Saturday. Why? You might ask, if you are thinking that these games don't really matter. Well, I can think of at least four other reasons to watch the World Cup, besides the fact that it's HOCKEY, and any kind of hockey is better than no hockey.
4. It's an opportunity to cheer for a team that's not usually your team. You don't necessarily have to root for team USA if you are an American. We understand, because, reasons. Maybe all your favorite players are Swedish, or Russian, or you can't understand why Phil Kessel's not on the team...it's ok. This is your chance to pick your favorites, regardless of league or national origin.
3. Experiments in chemistry. I'm curious to see how that Bergeron - Crosby - Marchand line works out for team Canada, and other unusual match-ups. I just watched Crosby and Malkin face off against each other...ok, nothing spectacular happened but it was fun to think about for a few seconds.
2. Team North America: this could be fun. Players from Canada and USA, all under age 23. What they lack in experience, they make up for in speed. Some of these guys are already on their way to becoming legend. This is the future.
1. Global participation and viewership, and it's not the Olympics, or the World Ice Hockey Championships. The World Cup is played by NHL rules, on a schedule that doesn't interfere with the NHL regular season. It has a different dynamic. After this year, the World Cup will be held on a regular basis, every four years. I can see the resemblance with the FIFA World Cup. It has the potential to grab a lot more fans.
...Russia vs. Canada just went into overtime, and this got interesting. Folks at CONSOL are getting their money's worth tonight. I am definitely hungry for more, and I will be tuning in for the rest of the games.