ZURICH Ė There is a general feeling in the hockey world that Russia has been underachieving since the IIHF introduced the World Ranking in 2004. As late as in 2006 (prior to the 70th IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia) Russia was only sixth in the men's ranking, behind Sweden, Czech Republic, Canada, Finland and Slovakia.
But after a bronze at home in Moscow and the gold in Quebec City, Team Russia is back at the top and they have a solid chance to be the new leader of the IIHF Men's World Ranking at the conclusion of Switzerland 2009.
In the Pre-Championship ranking report issued before to the 73rd IIHF World Championship in Bern and Zurich-Kloten (April 24 Ė May 10), both Russia and Canada are tied on top with 2000 points, but Russia is listed first because of higher finish in the latest event, Canada 2008, where Russia defeated the host in the gold medal game.
Click here for the updated IIHF World Ranking overview including all IIHF World Championship divisions from Top Division to Division III.
NOTE: The Pre-Championship ranking report is not to be confused with an official final ranking, which is calculated and released only after conclusion of World Championship or Olympic tournament. The Pre-Championship report can be compared with the standings after 75 metres in a 100-metre race.
The IIHF World Ranking takes into consideration the final placing at the last four IIHF World Championships and at the last Olympic tournament, with most attention being paid to results from the most recent events. The system uses a four-year cycle as points earned in one year decline by 25 percent in each year and in the fifth year they are dropped from the calculation altogether.
In the 2009 Pre-Championship report, the values of the 2008, 2007 and 2006 IIHF tournaments are reduced by 25 percent compared to the 2008 Final Ranking and where only the points of the 2009 IIHF World Championship need to be added to get the final 2009 IIHF Menís World Ranking.
The race for the top position in the 2009 IIHF Men's World Ranking (which will be established immediately following the gold medal in Bern on May 10) is tighter than ever. Russia and Canada are tied for first place, Finland is only ten points behind the duo, while Sweden is 25 points behind.
2009 Pre-Championship report: 1. Russia 2000 points, 2. Canada 2000, 3. Finland 1990, 4. Sweden 1975, 5. Czech R. 1875, 6. USA 1815, 7. Switzerland 1765, 8. Slovakia 1680, 9. Belarus 1660, 10. Norway 1625, 11. Germany 1620, 12. Latvia 1590, 13. Denmark 1565, 14. Italy 1510, 15. France 1440, 16. Slovenia 1430, 17. Austria 1425, 20. Hungary 1310.
The team that wins the IIHF World Championship or Olympic gold receives 1200 points, the silver team earns 1160 points and 1120 points is awarded for the bronze. In general there is a 20 point interval between two ranking positions. As an exception there is a 40 point interval awarded to the teams making the quarterfinal, the semi-final, the final and the gold medal.
NOTE: Any changes in the 2009 World Ranking will have no bearing on the seeding in the menís Olympic tournament in Vancouver 2010. The seeding for the Olympics was based on the World Ranking that was established following the 2008 World Championship in Canada.