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by Matt Rosen / Arizona Coyotes
The National Hockey League playoffs are underway and it’s been an exciting postseason so far. The New York swept the Atlanta Thrashers for their first playoff series win in 10 years, the Stars and Canucks took part in a triple overtime game as well as a quadruple overtime thriller; not to mention Dallas’ Marty Turco answering his critics with not one, not two but three shutouts in the opening round. 16 teams made the playoffs and 14 did not. For those players that are not playing in the postseason, some have a chance to represent their country and play in the upcoming World Championships.

The 2007 IIHF World Championships are set to begin in Russia from April 27th to May 13th. There are16 countries participating in the tournament and throughout the different teams are four members of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan will be playing for Team Canada while defensemen Keith Ballard along with former Coyotes’ Associate Coach Barry Smith, will be representing Team USA. Smith will be on the USA bench as an assistant coach. Zbynek Michalek will also lace up his skates for his home country of the Czech Republic while forward Niko Kapanen will play for Team Sweden. Check out for daily updates during the 2007 World Championships.

IIHF Tournament Rules:
  • The 16 teams are divided into four groups in the Preliminary Round.
  • After a single round-robin series in each group, the top three teams from each group advance to the Qualification Round while the fourth placed team in each group moves to the Relegation Round.
  • The Qualification Round consists of two groups with six teams in each, playing a single round robin series.
  • These teams carry forward the points gained in the Preliminary Round with the teams that they have played and advance with.
  • Teams, which have played in the Preliminary Round, do not meet again in the Qualification Round.
  • At the conclusion of the Qualification Round, the top four teams in each group play crossover Quarter Finals against teams from the other group of the Qualification Round.
  • In the Quarter Finals, the first placed team in one group plays the fourth placed team in the other group, while the second placed team in one group plays the third placed team in the other group, etc.
  • The winning teams in the Quarter Finals advance to the Semi Finals.
  • The winning teams of the two Semi Final match-ups advance to play in the Gold Medal Game while the Semi Final losing teams play in the Bronze Medal Game.
Relegation format:
The four teams participating in the Relegation Round play a single round robin series. The two teams which finish first and second at the conclusion of this round will be promoted to the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada, while the teams which finish third and fourth are relegated to Division I.

Since Canada is the host of the 2008 IIHF World Championship, the Canadian team cannot be relegated. Should Canada finish 3rd or 4th in the Relegation Round, the 2nd place team is relegated.

Tie breaking formula:
If two teams are tied on equality of points in the standings, the following tie breaking criteria applies:
1. Head-to-head (mutual) games between the teams concerned.
2. Goal differential.
3. Higher number of goals scored for.
4. Game Winning Shots competition between the teams concerned.
If three or more teams have the same number of points in the group, then their ranking shall be determined by higher number of points in a special standing composed just from the results of their head-to-head (mutual) games. If the number of points is equal between the three or more teams in this special standing just from the results of their head-to-head (mutual) games, than the same tie breaking criteria as above applies.

3 Point system & Overtime procedure:
The 2007 IIHF World Championship will be the first where the three-point system will be used. Teams winning in regulation are awarded three points, the loser none. Where there is a tie score in the Preliminary, Playoff and Relegation Rounds, teams are given one point each. A five-minute overtime will follow and, if the score is still tied after overtime, Game Winning Shots will be used. The team winning in overtime or shoot-out is awarded the extra point for a total of two points.

In case of a tie at the conclusion of regulation time in a Quarter Final, Semi Final and Bronze Medal Game, there will be a 10-minute sudden death overtime period played. In the Gold Medal game there will be a 20-minute sudden death overtime period. The team, which scores a goal during this period is declared winner. All Sudden Death Overtime periods are played with four skaters on four.

If no goal is scored in the overtime period then the Game Winning Shots (GWS) procedure will apply. The following procedure will be utilized:
  • If no goal is scored in any overtime period, Game Winning Shots ("shootout") will be used. Three different shooters from each team will take alternate shots, until a decisive goal is scored.
  • If the game is still tied after three shots by each team, the GWS will continue with a tie-break shoot out by one player of each team, with a reversed shooting order. The same or new players can take the tie-break shots. The same player can also be used for each shot by a team in the tie-break shoot-out. Only the decisive goal will count in the result of the game.
NOTE: This GWS procedure applies for both the preliminary round games and playoff, relegation and medal games.
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