The IIHF World Championships starts Friday in Denmark, and a handful of Wild players and Minnesotans will participate.

Winger Mikael Granlund will captain Team Finland, while winger Nino Niederreiter will skate for Switzerland. Prospect Kirill Kaprizov is on Russia's roster.

It is a bit of the passing of the torch for the Finns, usually captained by Wild center Mikko Koivu, to Granlund's leadership.

Team USA features four players from Minnesota: Detroit defenseman Nick Jensen (St. Paul, St. Cloud State), Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk (Hermantown, UMD), Islanders winger Anders Lee (Edina, Notre Dame) and Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren (Lakeville, St. Cloud State).

Action runs Friday until May 20 in Copenhagen and Herning. Sixteen teams are divided into two groups for the preliminary round, and the top four teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals May 17. The first-place team in each group will play the fourth-place team in the other group, and the second-place team plays the third-place team from the other group. 

The semifinals will be May 19, with the gold-medal game May 20. NHL Network will broadcast 40 of the tournament's 64 games, including all of Team USA's contests, both semifinals and the bronze and gold-medal games.

Group A includes Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, France, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, South Korea, Latvia, Norway and the U.S. are in Group B.

Last year, Sweden edged Canada in the gold-medal game, while Russia outlasted Finland for bronze.

This will be the fourth time Granlund has represented Finland at the World Championship and first since 2013. He has four goals and 17 points in 23 games. Niederreiter will be making his third appearance in the tournament after racking up five goals and eight points in 16 previous games.

As for Kaprizov, this will be his first time playing at the World Championship but he has plenty of international experience – including winning gold with Russia earlier this year at the Olympics.

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