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2014 WJC Podcast: Balanced Sweden looking to knock off upstart Slovakia squad

by HF Staff
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Alexander Wennberg - Team Sweden

Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Wennberg is leading Sweden on the scoresheet at the 2014 WJC, picking up three goals and four assists in four games (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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.

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2014 WJC Podcast: Canada builds momentum entering quarterfinal contest against Switzerland

by HF Staff
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Zach Fucale - Team Canada

Photo: Halifax Mooseheads goaltender and Montreal Canadiens prospect Zach Fucale took over in goal for Canada in the third game of the 2014 WJC, and helped the team land a top seed for the playoff round (courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

After suffering an upset loss in the second game of the preliminary round at the 2014 World Junior Championship, Team Canada won the final two games of that round to take the top seeding in Group A. That top seeding has led the team to a date in the quarterfinals with Switzerland.

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2014 WJC Podcast: Finland hoping to dispatch of pesky Czech Republic squad

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Saku Maenalanen - Team Finland

Photo: Karpat forward and Nashville Predators prospect Saku Maenalanen (R) has been the top goal-scorer for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of ANDREAS HILLERGREN/AFP/Getty Images)

The second quarterfinal contest taking place on Thursday at the 2014 World Junior Championship features Finland facing off against the Czech Republic. Finland was probably the more accomplished of the two teams during the preliminary round, but not by so wide a margin that a Czech victory is unthinkable.

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2014 WJC Podcast: USA, Russia match could be marquee quarterfinal contest

by HF Staff
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Matt Grzelcyk - Team USA

Photo: Boston University defenseman and Boston Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk is tied for the scoring lead on Team USA as he has picked six points (2G, 4A) in four games at the 2014 WJC (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Both teams won their first three games at the 2014 World Junior Championship, but both Russia and the USA also lost key matchups in the final game of the preliminary round, causing those countries to miss out on a less daunting start to the playoff round.

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2014 WJC Podcast: Germany, Norway looking to avoid relegation

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Dominik Kahun - Sudbury Wolves

Photo: Sudbury Wolves forward Dominik Kahun will be a key performer in Germany’s relegation round series against Norway at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

With the preliminary round now in the books, eight of the 10 teams taking part in the 2014 World Junior Championship can look forward to battling it out for medals beginning with the four quarterfinals matches on Thursday. But the other two teams on the outside looking in, Germany and Norway, are in the more precarious position of having to qualify for next year's top level of the WJC.

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2014 WJC Video: Adam Pelech, Canada

by Chapin Landvogt
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Adam Pelech - Team Canada

Photo: Erie Otters defenseman and New York Islanders prospect Adam Pelech is having another productive season on offense, picking up 24 points in 32 games so far this season (courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When being chosen for a tournament roster such as those of the countries taking part in the 2014 World Junior Championship, a player may have to accept a role that is quite different from the one that the player has on their main club.

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2014 WJC Video: Curtis Lazar and Griffin Reinhart, Canada

by Chapin Landvogt
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Curtis Lazar - Edmonton Oil Kings

Photo: Edmonton Oil Kings forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar is having a good season in Edmonton, notching 21 goals and 16 assists in 27 games while sporting a +22 rating (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

After suffering a surprising loss to the Czech Republic in the second game of the preliminary round, Canada circled the wagons and gutted out a pair of wins, over Slovakia and the USA, to take the top seed in Group A at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

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Minor league system starting to bear fruit for Florida Panthers

by Brian Fogarty
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Vince Trocheck - Florida Panthers

Photo: Forward Vince Trocheck is having a strong rookie pro season. Through 32 AHL games, the 20-year-old has 11 goals and 12 assists. (courtesy of Ray Carlin/Icon SMI)

The Florida Panthers currently have four players on their NHL roster who can still be considered prospects. Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Dylan Olsen, and Jimmy Hayes are all seeing regular shifts for Florida, and all have been effective at that level. There are also a handful of prospects at the AHL level who are either NHL-ready or not far off.

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2014 WJC Video: Connor McDavid, Canada

by Chapin Landvogt
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Connor McDavid - Team Canada

Photo: Erie Otters forward and 2015 prospect Connor McDavid is taking part in his second WJC inside of a year as he took part in the U18 World Juniors that took place in Sochi, Russia back in April (courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Heading into the 2014 World Junior Championship, it was thought that this tournament could serve as a true launching pad for Canadian hockey prodigy, Connor McDavid. Instead, McDavid blended in with the rest of his Team Canada teammates through the first three games of the tournament, much to the disappointment of some observers.

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2014 WJC Video: Jacob de la Rose, Sweden

by Chapin Landvogt
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Jacob de la Rose - Team Sweden

Photo: Leksand forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Jacob de la Rose has played in four World Junior Championships, twice at the U18 version, and twice at the U20 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the clock winding down in regulation and the score deadlocked at 2, Sweden forward Jacob de la Rose drifted towards the front of the Russian goal to deflect a shot by Gustav Olofsson past Russia's goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy to give Sweden the 3-2 lead and the win at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

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