The 2016 World Cup of Hockey begins Saturday with preliminary round games in Toronto. There will be two games per day for the next six days to determine which four teams get to advance to the semifinals and, potentially, to the best-of-three championship series.
The tournament features six national teams (United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic) along with two other combined teams (Team Europe and Team North America).
ESPN is returning to hockey coverage with the tournament, as games will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS for the next couple weeks. Additionally, you’ll be able to stream the games live via WatchESPN, although that will require sign-in via a cable or satellite provider.
After an unusually long offseason for Chicago fans, at least by recent standards, hockey is indeed finally back. It doesn’t need to be the Blackhawks for us to get excited, especially with so many members of the team participating. The players keep saying they’re taking it seriously, too, and that was apparent at times during the warmup games in recent days. Let’s hope the next couple weeks are a lot of fun. Oh, and for the love of Hossa, everyone please stay healthy.
2016 World Cup of Hockey schedule
All times CST
Saturday, Sept. 17
A great day for the Canadians, and not so much for the Americans. With those two teams now set for a huge matchup Tuesday in Toronto, it'll be interesting to see how Team USA responds coming off such a listless opening performance.
Sunday, Sept. 18
Sweden 2, Russia 1
North America 4, Finland 1
It's time to officially consider Team North America contenders in this tournament. Who knows how they might react to adversity down the road, but the speed and firepower on that roster is special. Sweden, meanwhile, showed its defensive excellence by topping Russia even with Henrik Lundqvist out due to illness.
Monday, Sept. 19
Europe 3, Czech Republic 2
Russia 4, North America 3
Team USA didn't get any favors with another Team Europe victory on Monday, while Russia earned a crucial win over the U-23 North American team with four unanswered goals after trailing 1-0.
Tuesday, Sept. 20
Sweden 2, Finland 0
Canada 4, USA 2 -- SCH RECAP
The World Cup won't go past the preliminary round for the Americans after they were eliminated by another poor effort against Canada. This simply wasn't the right roster or strategy for the U.S. to be competitive in this tournament. Sweden also continued looking like a defensive force with a shutout win over Finland.
Wednesday, Sept. 21
North America 4, Sweden 3 (OT)
Canada 4, Europe 1
Nathan MacKinnon scored the game-winning goal for Team North America in a thriller against Sweden that puts the pressure on Russia to win in order to send the U-23 team home. Canada also continued its run with an easy win over Europe, still looking like favorites in Toronto.
Thursday, Sept. 22
Russia 3, Finland 0
Czech Republic 4, USA 3
The tournament is over for the USA, Finland and Team North America after Russia and the Czechs were victorious on Thursday. Russia needed a win to earn the final semifinal spot over the North American young guns and had no trouble putting away the Finns.
Saturday, Sept. 24
Canada 5, Russia 3
Sunday, Sept. 25
Europe 3, Sweden 2 (OT)
The final is set between one team we all expected to be there and another that's a total surprise. The Canadians will be heavily favored against Europe in the three-game series, but Marian Hossa and company were doubted from the beginning and here they are in the final. At this point, Europe shocking the world to win the tournament wouldn't be that crazy. It would be hilarious, though.
Final (best of three)
Tuesday, Sept. 27
Canada 3, Europe 1
Thursday, Sept. 29
Canada vs. Europe, 7 p.m., (ESPN2, CBC)
Saturday, Oct. 1
Canada vs. Europe (if necessary), 6 p.m., (ESPN2, CBC)