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A look at the best and worst from IIHF World Hockey Championship

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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A look at the best and worst from IIHF World Hockey Championship

The Canadian Press
By:

COLOGNE, Germany - The IIHF World Hockey Championship wrapped up Sunday with the Czechs knocking off Russia in the gold-medal game. Here's a look at some of the best and worst of the tournament:

Best story: The Czechs may be champs but they have to share the best story with the hosts. Germany's fourth-place finish was the country's best at the world championship since 1938—an achievement made even more impressive by the fact the team wouldn't even have qualified for this tournament if it wasn't hosting it. Credit goalie Dennis Endras and a committed group of players for an inspiring performance.

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Worst story: The IIHF made headlines for the wrong reasons when it published an article by the organization's head of communications that blasted players who declined invitations to the tournament. The article called out Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom, among others. It drew strong criticism from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson before eventually being removed from the website.

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Best moment: As touching as it was to see the Germans do a lap around the ice saluting their fans after the bronze-medal game, the most powerful moment of the tournament came in the opener. Nothing topped the deafening sound of 77,803 cheering fans when German forward Felix Schutz scored in overtime to secure a 2-1 victory over the U.S. in the highly anticipated stadium game.

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Worst moment: Watching the Russians walk straight through the mixed zone and refuse to speak to reporters after a video surfaced of some players smoking in a bar. Thankfully, the air was eventually cleared and Smokegate only lasted a day or two.

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Best team: How can it not be the Czechs? That may sound a little silly given the early losses to Switzerland and Norway but they were the best unit by the end. Russia, as usual, brought the best collection of players.

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Biggest disappointment: Canada had the poorest performance among the major hockey nations. Mark Messier assembled a young team that was supposed to be hungry, but saw his players fail to match the competitive level of Switzerland and Sweden during losses early in the tournament. By the time they started getting on track, they were heading home after a quarter-final loss.

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Best player: It's got to be Evgeni Malkin. After a disappointing playoff loss with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Russian forward flew to Germany and scored five times in as many games. Kudos to him, especially after all the hockey he's played in recent years.

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Best performance by a player not in the NHL: With no shortage of candidates, we're giving the award to Swedish forward Magnus Paajarvi Svensson. The Edmonton Oilers prospect led his team with five goals and nine points. It won't be too surprising if he finds himself in the NHL in the fall.

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A look at the best and worst from IIHF World Hockey Championship