As I alluded to the other day the Buffalo Sabres will have numerous players that will play in the World Hockey Championships. The World Hockey Championships are broken up into four different divisions with 16 teams playing for the Championship. The 16 teams are already determined and the other divisions are playing for a chance to move up a division next year. It's been awhile since Sabres players have been able to play in the World Championships since it is played simultaneously with the NHL playoffs. This years Championship will take place May 2-18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec. Only one Sabres is officially playing so far but I anticipate others will follow suit.
Thomas Vanek is traveling to Austria to play for his native country. Austria is not in the championship round so they hope the addition of Thomas Vanek to the lineup will propel them to victory in Division 1 and allow them an opportunity at the Championship round next season.
It is expected that Ryan Miller will be the starting goalie for the United States although he sounded like he wanted to get away from hockey when cleaning out his locker. There was a lot publicity when Miller was left off the initial USA roster for the Olympics so I anticipate he'll play to make sure he has a chance to be the goalie in Vancouver 2010. Jason Pominville has dual citizenship between the US and Canada and he is expected to be named to and play for the United States as well. I initially thought that Drew Stafford may have an opportunity to play for the US but I have since changed my mind after seeing all the quality players available to John Tortorella and the rest of the USA staff.
Canada is once again a favorite to win the tournament especially with it being played in their own backyard. Unfortunately the Sabres will probably only have one player on that roster, that being Derek Roy. I see no way that Roy could be left off the roster. He has proved that he is one of the top players in the league and will try to show that on a more international level now.
I initially thought that the Sabres would have two players that made this roster but it's looking like their may not be any. Dmitri Kalinin is a long shot to play in the Worlds and Max Afinogenov is apparently undecided as to whether or not he is going to play. I think the Sabres are hoping that he will play because he is probably high on the list of people to move in the off-season and he struggled through the regular season.
The Sabres have two players that could probably make this roster but once again I am not sure if they will have any. The Czech power play will be much better if they Ales Kotalik and Jaro Spacek on the team. It looks like the option is in the hands of Kotalik although he too is undecided but I don't think Spacek is going to make the team.
Henrik Tallinder was a lock to be on Team Sweden but will not be able to play due to off-season surgery. It's a big blow for the Swedes although they have meny talented defensemen that will be able to step in.
Once again there are two players who could possibly play for Finland. Toni Lydman had a sub-par season and may be left off the roster but Teppo Numminen could probably play if he wants to. Numminen missed almost the entire season because of heart surgery and played in only the final regular season game. Numminen says "he wants to come back and play", if he is serious he should jump at the opportunity to represent his country in the World Championships.
Jochen Hecht would have been a lock to play for Germany but he will be undergoing off-season surgery and unable to play.
There may be an outside chance that Andrej Sekera is asked to play for the Slovaks. He has had success with Slovakia in the uniors and they may decide to build upon that.