Are World Championships worth it?

Updated: April 25, 2003, 12:34 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
A patriotic call to duty or another event in an already too-long season? That's the question about the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships, which start Saturday in Finland.

It's a bigger deal in Europe because the Worlds always coincide with the Stanley Cup playoffs, preventing many of the best talent from playing. So why bother with the tournament when the best can't play? The Olympics now gather the best players in the world for the true world championship and next year the World Cup of Hockey (previously known as the Canada Cup) will take place for the first time since 1996.

Andy Murray, whose Los Angeles Kings failed to make the NHL playoffs, will be coaching Team Canada for the second time. He led Canada to a gold medal in Helsinki in 1997 and said it's an honor and a privilege to be asked to represent your country.