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: 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.
Photo: Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov was a top offensive performer for Russia at the recently completed Subway Super Series (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
After the very good results from the last two World Junior Championships, where they grabbed a gold and a silver medal, Team Russia will play at home for the first time since 2001 and are hoping for a better finish in 2013 than their seventh place showing in twelve years ago.
Photo: Goalls will likely be hard to come by for Latvia at the 2013 World Junior Championship, but one player they will depend on for offense is Seattle Thunderbirds forward Robert Lipsbergs (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Thanks to Nikitas Jevpalovs’ overtime goal against Denmark at the 2012 World Junior Championship, Latvia escaped relegation into Division I and instead will play in their fifth WJC with a rather young roster featuring several returning players.