Photo: Minnesota State forward and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Teddy Bluegers was not as productive as he would like to have been for Latvia at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
In spite of expectations before the tournament, Team Latvia was relegated to next year's WJC Division 1, Group A tournament. Icing what was considered their best roster in recent years wasn't enough, however, as the deciding game against Team Germany finished with a 5-2 score.
Photo: Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin was not a standout for his country at the 2013 WJC, but he did acquit himself well in his first appearance at the U-20 event (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Team Russia's bronze medal can be deemed as a good result on home soil, though not the result that was hoped for at the 2013 World Junior Championship. They surrendered to Sweden in the semifinals in the shoot-out, but the win over Canada in the bronze medal game surely cheered up the home crowd.
Photo: Quebec Remparts forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko played a major role in helping Russia advance to the semi-finals of the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
After winning gold and silver at the last two World Junior Championships, 2013 host country Russia find themselves in a position to bring home another medal, possibly gold, in front of a home crowd.
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.