As the host team for the 2014 World Junior Championship, Sweden has so far avoided the trap of being a highly-favored host that suffers an ignominious defeat at the hands of a weaker opponent. But the stakes get a little higher for the Swedes with the end of the preliminary round and the start of the playoff round, which sees them facing plucky Slovakia in their quarterfinal match.
Aside from a 10-0 drubbing of Norway, Sweden was involved in fairly tight contests through the opening round of this WJC. But, despite the closeness of the scores, the Swedes looked like the best team competing at this event. Meanwhile, somewhat surprisingly, Slovakia currently sports three of the top four scorers at the 2014 WJC. There is also some solid depth at forward beyond those three players, so Sweden can't take their opponent lightly.
Hockey's Future writers Chapin Landvogt and Derek O'Brien sat down Wednesday to discuss the WJC quarterfinal matchups, including the Sweden-Slovakia contest. Those conversations were recorded and are being presented as HF's WJC quarterfinals preview podcasts.
Right-click here to download this Hockey's Future Podcast.