Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE
When the NHL season ends for a team, some players call it a summer, and despite keeping into shape, think little of playing hockey. For three Buffalo Sabres, the shortened NHL season wasn’t the end all be all for them. Jhonas Enroth, Andrej Sekera, and Nathan Gerbe all took the opportunity to play for their home countries in the 2012 IIHF World Championships.
As reported by the Buffalo Sabres this past weekend, Gerbe will miss the tournament due to a lower back injury he is having treated. That leaves two Buffalo Sabres hoping to bring home either a gold, silver or bronze medal in the tournament to add to their resume. This tournament is going to be the first measuring stick for the international teams as countries prepare for the 2014 Olympics games in Sochi.
The United States has not won gold medal in the World Championships since 1960. Slovakia last won the tournament gold in 2002, and Swedens last time as the king of the hill as in 2006.
With the tournament being shared by Finland and Sweden, the sixteen competing teams will be put into two groups for the preliminary round. Jhonas Enroth will be playing at home in the Stockholm group, and will be facing the Russians, Czech Republic, Germans, Norway, Latvia, Denmark, and Italians.
Andrej Sekera will join his countrymen in the Helsinki group, and will round robin with Finland, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Belarus, France, and Kazakhstan.
The tournament gets under way May 4, with round robin action going from May 4th through the 18th. The Semifinals will take place in Helsinki on Saturday May 19th, with the medal games played in Helsinki on Sunday May 20th.
NBC Sports (formerly Versus) will broadcast all games involving Team USA . Full schedule of games, rosters, and standings can be found on the IIHF page, as well as here on the Wiki page.
For fans following Enroth and Sekera, here are the schedules for the two groups: