“Without Russia it makes no sense.” The NHL is preparing a monster tournament, it’s not even the World Cup!

Update Post: December 4, 2023 9:57 pm

Bad news came from Stockholm, where the NHL held the postponed games. The best league in the world has finally figured out how to solve the World Cup and Russia dilemma. But the result was an incomprehensible monster.

What is known about the 2025 tournament

It won’t even be the World Cup, but a kind of “international tournament” in February 2025, which has not yet been given a name. Only four teams are scheduled to participate in the following format: in the group stage, Canada and the United States will play two games in North America, and Sweden and Finland will play in Europe. The semi-finals and final will take place in the United States or Canada. The tournament will last about a week and the NHL regular season will go on hiatus.

The tournament will most likely be held without the participation of the IIHF, meaning only NHL players will participate.

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“The current concept of the tournament does not include Russian players. There will only be four teams. One source says the league doesn’t have enough time to plan the logistics of a larger tournament. The format and venue have not yet been determined, there is a possibility that the entire tournament will be held in one city,” writes ESPN.

The federations of Sweden and Finland forced the isolation of Russia. “There probably won’t be Russia. There are federations that would not allow their players to participate in the tournament. You have to take everything into account. I represent all the players and I will support my boys. This is a very difficult situation. Complex and very sad. It’s a terrible situation: you’re thinking about how to try to separate the sport from what’s going on in the world, and it’s very difficult right now.

I hope the world will be different in 2026, but we don’t know what it will be. There is a chance the world will be no different,” said Marty Walsh, executive director of the NHL players union.

A year ago, Gary Bettman chose to completely cancel the tournament scheduled for 2024, so as not to rack his brains over the participation of Russian players, and now he has presented a kind of intermediate option, which raises many questions and doubts about the need . for a tournament like this.

On the one hand, the league wants to play with national teams before the Olympic Games to attract more attention to itself and its hockey players, who will travel to Italy in 2026. It is no longer possible to delay it any longer, but on the other hand, it is impossible to give gave birth to a complete, beautiful and meaningful product. The tournament in such a truncated format looks completely miserable. Yes, it will be pretentious and hockey will still be at the highest level, but why will they play, in essence, without the Russians? And without the Czechs, the Slovaks and the Germans? This is not what NHL players dream of.

“I would like the World Cup to be like the World Cup. Even if there are no strong teams, the more countries the better,” says Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon.

“All fans want to see the best against the best. I think everyone should play. It will be more difficult for the smaller countries, but what kind of World Cup would it be without, for example, León Draisaitl? We have to accept everyone,” says Ottawa’s German forward, Tim Stützle.

Even the authoritative publication The Athletic expresses bewilderment: “If an international tournament is held without players from Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and without Russian players, will this reduced World Cup be very different from the NHL All-Star Game? An event whose ratings in the United States recently reached a new low?

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The reaction of the fans

Fans also see no point in this NHL analogue of the Eurotour. Why start something if everyone understands in advance that a powerful, long-awaited and truly significant action for hockey will not work?

“Then there is no point in keeping him.”

“It doesn’t count without Russia.”

“As a Canadian, I wonder if I will ever see Connor McDavid play meaningful games for the national team. Because this is not the same anymore.”

“It sounds like a waste of time. Four teams? Nobody wants this nonsense. As always, if the NHL gets involved, the minimum will be accomplished.”

“It is outrageous that Russian players continue to be punished for something they had nothing to do with!”

“Then cancel this tournament! “The players won’t care, nor will the fans.”

“Without Russia, this tournament is meaningless.”

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November 21, 2023 4:38 am