TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning will be well represented at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, which begin today in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec. The tournament lasts through May 18, with the Gold Medal game set that night in Quebec City.
Team USA features a strong Lightning influence, with Tampa Bay center Jeff Halpern serving as captain and Lightning head coach John Tortorella serving in the same role. Tortorella is joined on the Team USA staff by Lightning assistant coach Mike Sullivan and video coach Nigel Kirwan, as well as Lightning head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan and head equipment manager Ray Thill. The U.S. opens the tournament against Latvia tonight in Halifax.
Other Lightning players representing their countries in the tournament are right wing Martin St. Louis
(Canada), defenseman Filip Kuba (Czech Republic), right wing Jussi Jokinen (Finland) and goaltender Karri Ramo (Finland). Canada opens tonight vs. Slovakia in Halifax, the Czechs face Denmark tonight in Quebec City, and Finland opens tomorrow night against Germany in Halifax.
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.
The Qualification Round consists of two groups, with six teams each, playing a single round robin. The teams carry the points from the Preliminary Round with the teams that they played and advance with. Teams which have played in the Preliminary Round do not meet again in the Qualification Round.In the Quarterfinals, the first-place team in each Qualification Round group plays the fourth-place team from the same group, while the second-place team plays the third-place team in the same Qualification Round group. The winning teams advance to the semifinals. The winning teams of the semi-final games advance to the Gold Medal game while the semi-final losing teams play for Bronze.
|Group A (Quebec City) ||Group B (Halifax) ||Group C (Halifax) ||Group D (Quebec) |
|Sweden ||Canada ||Finland ||Czech Republic |
|Switzerland ||USA ||Slovakia ||Russia |
|Belarus ||Latvia ||Germany ||Denmark |
|France ||Slovenia ||Norway ||Italy |