Rickard Wallin, Carl Gunnarsson and Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson all had strong showings for Team Sweden in the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championships and will add more hardware to the Leafs organization which already boasts three silver medals from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Jonas Gustavsson played nine games in the tournament and boasted an impressive 93.68 save percentage along with a minuscule 1.79 goals against average.

For Gustavsson, this is the third time in two years that he has represented Sweden at the international level. As well as playing for his country at this years Olympics in Vancouver, this is the second consecutive year that he has back stopped Sweden to a Bronze at the Worlds.

Carl Gunnarsson played in his first World Hockey Championship for Sweden this year as well as his first Olympiad. Winning Bronze will reflect very well on this young defense man as well as give him a boat load of confidence.

Gunnarsson was a big factor in the Swedish Bronze Medal run defensively playing nine games, finishing with two points and a plus two rating.

Rickard Wallin may have had an even bigger impact on the team than the Monster. Wallin was impressive with six points in nine games and a plus seven to tie for second in the tournament in that category.

He Also tied for fourth in assists with five.

Other Leafs notables include Mikhail Grabovski, who finished the tournament with with three assists in six games for his native Belarus.

Francois Beauchemin also had a decent showing at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championships helping Team Canada with an assist, eight shots on goal and a plus one in seven games.

24 year old Nikoai Kulemin also had a strong showing at the Worlds on an already star studded line up that included veterans like Sergei Fedorov, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Gonchar just to name a few.

Kulemin played nine games racking up five points and 25 penalty minute but still managed to have a plus six rating and also adds a IIHF World Hockey Championship Silver Medal to an ever growing resume of international play.

Christian Hanson, who was probably hoping for a better result in his first international play, probably did his father proud with a solid showing.

Hanson recorded an assist and was a plus two in six games for Team USA.

Although the seven Toronto Maple Leafs players who represented their countries at this tournament experienced varying degrees of success, I think we should be proud of all of them just for being part of it.

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This years IIHF World Hockey Championship was not with out it's down falls however. It is widely known that Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sydney Crosby elected not to participate in the tournament and has faced a barrage of criticism for his decision.

Most of it from an un-likely source, IIHF communications director Szymon Szemberg.

I'm not going to get too far into the story because let's be honest, we've all heard it ad nauseum already. I would like to offer an opinion on the source of the story however.

I'm not entirely sure what Mr Szemberg hoped to accomplish with his little bout of  'verbal diarhia', but perhaps in the future, if he still has one. He would do well to simply say ' no comment '.

I'm not a great fan of Sydney Crosby. He's a very good hockey player, but it is sometimes evident that he still has some maturing to do. 

However, it would have been very different if one of Team Canada's players had called him out, or maybe one of his Penguin team mates playing for other teams than it was for some ' pencil pusher ' to do it. Certainly more appropriate.

Which ties in nicely with my next topic.

 

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As much as it boggles my mind why the hell NHL players are allowed to play at this tournament to begin with. Why in it's obviously not so infinite wisdom would the IIHF even hold it in an Olympic year?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a hockey fan. I love it, I would watch it 365 days a year, but in an already compressed schedule and in the middle of the playoffs? They wouldn't have gotten the best players even if they got the best players.

If the IIHF doesn't do somethiing about it maybe Mr Bettman should try. The problem with that  is, how do you tell NHL hockey players that they can't represent their countries?

Brian Burke for the record is in favor of simply not holding it on Olympic years or even further, only holding it every two years.

I agree with him. There are just too many other tournaments out there now and the NHL should have a little more to do with how they affect the NHL season.