Photo: Highly-rated 2013 prospect Aleksander Barkov of Finland has roots in the country that is hosting the 2013 World Junior Championship, Russia (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Team Sweden is sporting the best power-play, coming in at 35.71%, while the USA tops penalty killing units at 88.24%. Interestingly enough, no team has been on the power-play more than Sweden and only Russia has been shorthanded less than the USA.
Photo: Although Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has generated a bit of offense for Russia at the 2013 WJC, he has not been the offensive force he will need to be if Russia is to take the gold medal (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For hockey fans across the globe, the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF WJC has been just about everything anyone had ever hoped for. There’s been no lack of tension, rivalries, intrigue and background stories that have come together to make this tournament the type that fans everywhere crave.
Photo: German defender Stephen Kronthaler is captaining a squad that is hoping to avoid relegation to the WJC's Division 1, Group A level (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Being named captain of any squad is never a bad thing as it usually is considered an honor to be that highly valued by both coaches and peers. But it would be especially good for German captain Stephen Kronthaler if he were to captain Germany to another appearance at the top level of the World Junior Championship in 2014.
Photo: Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Fredrik Tiffels is competing for Germany at the 2013 WJC, but he and his German teammates have had a tough time so far in that tournament (courtesy of Ellen DeLuca)
Coming into the 2013 World Junior Championship, Team Germany knew that they would have their work cut out for them given their placement in a group that included Canada, Russia, and the USA. And the apprehension surrounding that placement appears to have been justified as the Germans have been outscored by those three opponents by a combined 24-3 in the first three games of the tournament.
Photo: Green Bay Gamblers forward Grigory Dikushin (#97) is competing in his second USHL season after coming over from Russia for the 2011-12 season (courtesy of Rick Schaffer)
In 2011, the USHL increased the amount of foreign players each club could carry from two to four. As a result, many teams have put more emphasis on global scouting in order to recruit European skaters that will improve their teams. But, while many of the foreign players in the USHL are from Canada, two teams are reaping the benefits of their global outreach and, in turn, have improved the league’s brand among the global hockey community.