Has Russia overtaken the #1 spot in World Hockey?
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11-29-2012, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Technically, I'm guessing that no tournament is ever "best on best".
Someone is left off, or someone is injured, and the definition of what the "best" line-up is will be arguable anyway.
In terms of trying to use international hockey results to try and generate some kind of ranking, in all of the years of debating this ad nauseum, it basically comes down to the fact that North Americans don't ascribe any value to WC victories while the Europeans don't ascribe any value to the World Cup / Canada Cup.
The best thing for the World Cup would have been if Finland had won in 2004. You'd better believe that they'd instantly become the biggest supporters of the tournament as an example of the closest one can get to a "best on best" tournament.
In any event, if those two tournaments cancel each other out, that leaves the WJC and the Olympics.
The WJC is rigged against teams with smaller populations, because the age restriction has a larger impact on the pool of available players.
So I'd be tempted to put that one aside as well.
It really is a Canadian phenomenon, and has become all wrapped up in Christmas tradition here in Canada due to TSN needing to broadcast hockey back in its early days when they couldn't show NHL games. They essentially created the buzz around the tournament during the big 5 gold streak in the 90s, and this coincided with TSN evolving into the upper echelons of sports broadcasting in Canada.
Older folks around here will remember TSN Pub Night where they'd show darts or snooker. It was a pretty adorable little network back in those days.
You are starting to see other countries take notice because Canada makes such a big deal about it. It's the ultimate spoiler to beat the Canadians at the WJC, particularly on home soil.
That's it. There's no quibbling about schedule (during the NHL playoffs, in the summer), or who is or isn't available. The officiating complaints aren't as loud as in the WCs or World Cup/Canada Cup.
One tournament to judge the "best team" on the planet, and it only comes along every 4 years.
I made a point of saying that I considered Sweden the top team on the planet for the 2006 win, just like the Czechs in 1998. It's a title they get to hold for 4 years, because as far as I'm concerned, the other tournaments just don't work as proxies for that ranking.
That's just my personal opinion, but from a competition point of view, it's the only one that really counts.
You can try and evaluate the countries based on the players they produce, but without the head-to-head competition, it becomes a paper exercise that resolves even less than a short single elimination tournament.
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