The World Cup of Hockey tournament is now only 6 months away and the first 16 man rosters are about to be revealed.
After almost a decade dormant, the trophy has been dusted off, and the tournament revived by the NHL and NHLPA.
Here is a quick refresh on the format: there will be be six national teams; Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic; and two all-star teams, North America under 23 years old, and Europe (countries without national teams). The tournament will progress as follows:
The eight teams are split into two Groups, Group A and Group B, for the Preliminary Round (Sept. 17-22), when each team will play its three Group opponents in a round-robin format. Placed in Group A are Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team USA, plus Team Europe, a pan-European roster of players from birth countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden. The four teams in Group B are Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, and Team North America, a selection of the top players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016.
The top two finishers in Group A and Group B will advance to the Semifinals (Sept. 24 25), where the first-place team from each Group will face an elimination game against the second-place team from the other Group. The two Semifinal winners will meet in the Final, a best-of-three series on Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and, if necessary, Oct. 1.
The preliminary "16 man" rosters will be announced over the course of the day tomorrow. Top 16 means we are likely to get the top 3 forward lines, defenceman, and the starting goalie.
Here are the times roster announcements will be made on March 2nd (all EST):
Russia: 3:00 AM
Finland: 4:00 AM
Czech: 11:00 AM
Sweden: 12:30 PM
Pan-European: 4:30 PM
North America U-23: 5:15 PM
Canada: 6:05 PM
USA: 6:45 PM
The evening announcements will of course be carried live on special TV broadcasts. Sportsnet will have a three hour special starting at 4:00 PM EST where you can get more analysis than you could ever possibly want about these rosters!
If you are in the US, The NHL Network will have a recap show, starting a 7:00 PM EST and going over all the roster announcements of the day.
The big question for Maple Leafs fans is who on the team could attend? Some obvious candidates are William Nylander, Leo Komarov, James van Riemsdyk, Kasperi Kapanen, and Morgan Rielly.
We will have updates and coverage throughout the day tomorrow.