With the quest for hockey's holy grail still ongoing, the sport's 'other' springtime tournament is set to begin in Finland. With several surprising first round departures from the likes of Colorado, Detroit, Toronto and Washington, the International Ice Hockey Federation is poised to reap the benefits of these ousted clubs in the form of Peter Bondra (Slovakia), Peter Forsberg (Sweden), Milan Hejduk (Czech Republic), Mats Sundin (Sweden) and others who have decided to represent their country.
Make no mistake about it - ask any of these players what they'd rather be playing for right now and the Stanley Cup would be the unanimous answer. But for some, the opportunity to don the colors of their country across their chest is also quite important.
This being said, the IIHF tourney certainly lacks the complete attention of the hockey world. Aside from a timing conflict with the Stanley Cup playoffs, rosters are often glued together with a mix of NHLers, minor leaguers and European League players and expected to gel as a unit in a relatively short period of time. The lack of WC coverage in North America - especially the United States markets - also makes it difficult to stay on top of the action.
As patriotic as hockey fans around the globe tend to be, is there complete satisfaction in following your country's performance when you know the roster isn't built in the same mold as an Olympic squad?
With perhaps the deepest WC talent pool in recent years set to take the ice, we ask for your take on the tournament.
* What are your general thoughts of the tournament?
* How important is the tourney to the sport of hockey?
* How important is the WC to you as a fan?
* Would you be more inclined to follow the tourney if it didn't conflict with the Stanley Cup Playoffs?Email us
your WC thoughts and suggestions. Select responses will be posted on the site throught the tournament.