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2015 IIHF World Championship schedule, format, teams, TV coverage: Now with Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Nikolay Kulemin

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At least three New York Islanders will play at the Worlds. Here's how to find them.

Shake it off in Prague.
Shake it off in Prague.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Anders Lee is coming off an outstanding rookie season in which he was second on the New York Islanders in goals (25) -- this after starting the season in AHL Bridgeport -- but one that ended with a bad taste: He was scratched for Games 6 and 7 of the Isles' first-round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals.

As Arthur Staple of Newsday reported, that plays a role in why Lee has accepted an invitation to play for the U.S. at the 2015 IIHF World Championships, which begin Friday, May 1, in the Czech Republic, the ancestral home of the best bloggers.

Lee is in a very interesting situation: After doing a USHL year between high school and Notre Dame, where he stayed for three years, Lee was still a rookie at age 24 and is already up for his third NHL contract as a restricted free agent this summer.

Negotiations should be interesting: Lee should be part of the Isles' long-term plans simply by the uniqueness of what he provides, a scoring touch attached to a big body around the net and on the forecheck. But like fellow "Kid Line" members Ryan Strome (in the final month of the regular season) and Brock Nelson (for Game 5), he was a shock scratch late in the year as if to say, "You're not a lineup automatic just yet."

Anyway, now he goes to the World Championships, and one wonders if his performance there will have any part in contract discussions.

The Stakes

The World Championships tourney is a big deal in Europe each year, and in North America for pockets of NHL fans desperate for a fix about their favorite teams and players after they are eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

This year's tournament matters more because it will help finalize seeding for the 2018 Winter Olympics South Korea. Olympic qualification is determined by a nation's cumulative finish in five tournaments: the 2014 Olympics and the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships.

From Broad Street Hockey, which has a great overview of the tourney:

The higher a nation finished in each of those tournaments, the more points they were awarded according to an IIHF formula. Following the 2015 tournament, teams ranked in the top eight will qualify directly for the 2018 Olympics, while teams below the top eight will have to go through a number of qualification games in late 2015 and 2016.

The United States or Canada are likely not in danger of falling out of the top eight, aside from what would be a shockingly terrible performance at these 2015 Worlds. But Olympic qualification is very much on the line for a number of teams playing at this tournament, and it will be a subplot throughout the games, even as many of the NHL players participating don't know if they'll be allowed to play at those 2018 Olympic Games.

It's of course unknown whether NHL players will participate in the 2018 Olympics, which only adds intrigue to who qualifies.

The teams

The 16 nations are split into two groups of eight for round-robin preliminary play.

Group A will play preliminary round games at O2 Arena in Prague:

  • Sweden (1 overall seed)
  • Canada (4 seed)
  • Czech Republic (5)
  • Switzerland (7)
  • Latvia (9)
  • France (12)
  • Germany (13)
  • Austria (16)

Group B will play its preliminary round games at ČEZ Aréna in Ostrava:

  • Finland (2 overall seed)
  • Russia (3)
  • United States (6)
  • Slovakia (8)
  • Norway (10)
  • Belarus (11)
  • Slovenia (14)
  • Denmark (15)

The Format

Three points for regulation wins, two points for overtime or shootout wins, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout. The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.

The playoff round begins with quarterfinals May 14, followed by semifinals the next day. The bronze and gold medal games will be Sunday, May 17.

The Rosters (and the Islanders)

Visit each nation's hockey federation page (usahockey.comhockeycanada.ca, etc.), or the IIHF website for the latest rosters. NHL players can be added (assuming they accept invitation) as they are eliminated from the playoffs.

  • Anders Lee is reported to be joining the U.S. roster, the first time he gets to represent Team America. UPDATE: Brock Nelson will join him.
  • Nikolay Kulemin is reported to be headed over to join Russia.
  • Mikhail Grabovski has represented Belarus in the past, but no announcement has been made on whether he will this year. [UPDATE: Staple says it sounds like no.]
  • There could be others. Sometimes it depends on health. (e.g. Frans Nielsen was held out by the Isles in the past due to injury recovery.)
  • UPDATE: Speaking of which, Staple wondered if the Isles might've persuaded Grabovski to take it easy after two concussions this season. Meanwhile, Staple reports Tavares and Strome are not going.

Full Schedule

(Games theoretically involving Islanders players in bold.)

Round Group Date Visitor Home Location Status
Preliminary A Fri, May 1 Latvia Canada O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Fri, May 1 Finland United States ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Fri, May 1 Sweden Czech Republic O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Fri, May 1 Norway Russia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 2 Austria Switzerland O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 2 Denmark Slovakia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 2 Germany France O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 2 Slovenia Belarus ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 2 Czech Republic Latvia O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 2 United States Norway ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Sun, May 3 Sweden Austria O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sun, May 3 Slovenia Russia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sun, May 3 Germany Canada O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sun, May 3 Slovakia Belarus ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sun, May 3 Switzerland France O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Sun, May 3 Finland Denmark ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Mon, May 4 Sweden Latvia O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Mon, May 4 United States Russia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Mon, May 4 Czech Republic Canada O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Mon, May 4 Finland Norway ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Tue, May 5 Germany Switzerland O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Tue, May 5 Belarus Denmark ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Tue, May 5 France Austria O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Tue, May 5 Slovenia Slovakia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Wed, May 6 Latvia Switzerland O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Wed, May 6 Denmark Russia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Wed, May 6 Canada Sweden O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Wed, May 6 Norway Slovakia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Thu, May 7 France Czech Republic O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Thu, May 7 Belarus United States ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Thu, May 7 Germany Sweden O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Thu, May 7 Slovenia Finland ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Fri, May 8 Austria Czech Republic O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Fri, May 8 Norway Slovenia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Fri, May 8 Latvia Germany O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Fri, May 8 Denmark United States ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 9 Canada France O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 9 Russia Belarus ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 9 Latvia Austria O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 9 Slovakia Finland ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sat, May 9 Switzerland Sweden O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Sat, May 9 Norway Denmark ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Sun, May 10 Czech Republic Germany O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Sun, May 10 United States Slovenia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Sun, May 10 Canada Switzerland O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Sun, May 10 Russia Slovakia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Mon, May 11 Austria Germany O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Mon, May 11 Belarus Finland ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Mon, May 11 France Sweden O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Mon, May 11 Denmark Slovakia ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary A Tue, May 12 Austria Canada O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Tue, May 12 Belarus Norway ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 6:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Tue, May 12 France Latvia O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary B Tue, May 12 Slovakia United States ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Preliminary A Tue, May 12 Switzerland Czech Republic O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Preliminary B Tue, May 12 Russia Finland ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Quarter-final
Thu, May 14 TBD TBD ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 9:15 AM EDT
Quarter-final
Thu, May 14 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Quarter-final
Thu, May 14 TBD TBD ČEZ Aréna, Ostrava, CZE 1:15 PM EDT
Quarter-final
Thu, May 14 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:15 PM EDT
Semifinal
Sat, May 16 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 9:15 AM EDT
Semifinal
Sat, May 16 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 1:15 PM EDT
Bronze
Sun, May 17 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 10:15 AM EDT
Gold
Sun, May 17 TBD TBD O2 Arena, Prague, CZE 2:45 PM EDT

TV Schedule for U.S. Viewers

All Team USA games will be streamed live through NBC's Live Extra app and at NBCSports.com. Five of seven USA preliminary games will be broadcast live on NBCSN, while the others will be broadcast on tape delay.

In Canada, TSN has full coverage of the 2015 World Championships with 58 of 64 tournament games broadcast live on its networks.

Date Game Network Game time (ET)
Fri., May 1 Team USA vs. Finland NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Sat., May 2 Team USA vs. Norway NBCSN (delay at 11 p.m.) 2 p.m.
Mon., May 4 Team USA vs. Russia NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Thur., May 7 Team USA vs. Belarus NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Fri., May 8 Team USA vs. Denmark NBCSN (live) 2 p.m.
Sun., May 10 Team USA vs. Slovenia NBCSN (delay at 3 p.m.) 10 a.m.
Tue., May 12 Team USA vs. Slovakia NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Thu., May 14 IIHF Quarterfinals NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.

IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 10 a.m.

IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 11:30 a.m.

IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 1 p.m.

IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 2 p.m.

IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 11:30 p.m.
Sat., May 16 IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 9:30 a.m.

IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 1 p.m.
Sun., May 17 IIHF Bronze Medal Game Live Extra app, TV TBD 10 a.m.

IIHF Gold Medal Game NBCSN (live) 2:30 p.m.