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2019 World Championship: Blackhawks preview

Everything you need to know about the annual international tournament.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Team Czech Republic vs Team USA John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s World Championship begins Friday in Slovakia and offers a chance for NHL players to continue playing before summer hits. It’s also an opportunity for top talented players overseas to get scouted by NHL teams.

It is the highest profiled international tournament featuring NHL talent since the league has decided to not let players participate in the Winter Olympics.

Tournament format

The event has 16 nations playing in two groups of eight, with the top four in each group advancing to the playoffs. The final is scheduled for May 26.

Group A (Kosice): Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Slovakia, United States

Group B (Bratislava): Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland

Which Blackhawks are playing?

Group A

Canada: Dylan Strome

Denmark: Mathias From (unsigned prospect)

Finland: Henri Jokiharju, Kevin Lankinen (prospect)

Germany: Dominik Kahun

United States: Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane (c)

Group B

Czech Republic: Dominik Kubalik (unsigned prospect)

Norway: Andreas Martinsen

Russia: Artem Anisimov

Sweden: Erik Gustafsson, Marcus Kruger

Switzerland: Philipp Kurashev (prospect)

Prospects to watch

You’re familiar with the Blackhawks players, so let’s focus on the team’s four prospects that’ll be playing in the tournament.

From, 2016 fifth-rounder, scored eight goals and 16 points for AIK in Sweden’s second division, Allsvenskan. In 2018, he joined the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, on an amateur-tryout contract but did not play. He’s expected to play in Sweden next season.

Lankinen, who turned 24 on April 28, went 7-8-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 19 AHL outings in net during in his first season in North America. He’s projected to be Rockford’s starter for the 2019-20 campaign.

This is will be the first time to get a real look at Kubalik, who was acquired via trade with the Kings in January. The 23-year-old winger scored 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) in 50 games for HC Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland’s top league. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has said he expects Kubalik to play in the NHL next season.

Kurashev scored a career-high 29 goals and 65 points and won 52.9 percent of his faceoffs in 59 regular-season QMJHL games with the Quebec Remparts. The 2018 fourth-round pick added a goal with four assists and won 48.6 percent of his faceoffs in the Remparts’ seven-game first-round series loss to the Halifax Mooseheads. The 19-year-old skated in three games for the IceHogs in the spring, but did not record a point.

Kurashev scored a tournament-high six goals and finished seventh among all skaters with seven points for Switzerland at this year’s World Junior Championship.

Former Blackhawks

Four former Blackhawks will also be in the tournament with Czech winger Michael Frolik and defenseman Jan Rutta and Slovakian wingers Marko Dano and Richard Panik.

Schedule

All U.S. games will be broadcasted on NHL Network, which will broadcast more than 30 games throughout the tournament.

Friday, May 10

A: Finland vs. Canada, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: United States vs. Slovakia, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Russia vs. Norway, 9 a.m.

B: Czech Republic vs. Sweden, 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 11

A: Denmark vs. France, 5 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Germany vs. Great Britain, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Slovakia vs. Finland, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Switzerland vs. Italy, 5 a.m.

B: Latvia vs. Austria, 9 a.m.

B: Norway vs. Czech Republic, 1 p.m.

Sunday, May 12

A: United States vs. France, 5 a.m.

A: Denmark vs. Germany, 9 a.m.

A: Great Britain vs. Canada, 1 p.m.

B: Russia vs. Austria, 5 p.m.

B: Italy vs. Sweden, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

B: Latvia vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m.

Monday, May 13

A: United States vs. Finland, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Slovakia vs. Canada, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Russia vs. Czech Republic, 9 a.m.

B: Norway vs. Sweden, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 14

A: Great Britain vs. Denmark, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Germany vs. France, 1 p.m.

B: Italy vs. Latvia, 9 a.m.

B: Switzerland vs. Austria, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

Wednesday, May 15

A: United States vs. Great Britain, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Germany vs. Slovakia, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Switzerland vs. Norway, 9 a.m.

B: Russia vs. Italy, 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 16

A: Canada vs. France, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Finland vs. Denmark, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Sweden vs. Austria, 9 a.m.

B: Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 1 p.m.

Friday, May 17

A: France vs. Slovakia, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Finland vs. Great Britain, 1 p.m.

B: Austria vs. Norway, 9 a.m.

B: Czech Republic vs. Italy, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

Saturday, May 18

A: Denmark vs. United States, 5 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Canada vs. Germany, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Great Britain vs. Slovakia, 1 p.m.

B: Latvia vs. Russia, 5 a.m.

B: Italy vs. Norway, 9 a.m.

B: Sweden vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

Sunday, May 19

A: Germany vs. United States, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: France vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

B: Austria vs. Czech Republic, 9 a.m.

B: Switzerland vs. Russia, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

Monday, May 20

A: France vs. Great Britain, 9 a.m.

A: Canada vs. Denmark, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Sweden vs. Latvia, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

B: Austria vs. Italy, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21

A: Finland vs. Germany, 5 a.m.

A: Slovakia vs. Denmark, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Canada vs. United States, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, 5 a.m. (NHLN)

B: Norway vs. Latvia, 9 a.m.

B: Sweden vs. Russia, 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 23

A: Quarterfinal 1, 9 a.m. (NHLN)

A: Quarterfinal 2, 1 p.m. (NHLN)

B: Quarterfinal 1, 9 a.m.

B: Quarterfinal 2, 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

Semifinal 1, 8 a.m. (NHLN)

Semifinal 2, noon (NHLN)

Sunday, May 26

Bronze-medal game, 8:30 a.m. (NHLN)

Gold-medal game, 1 p.m. (NHLN)