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: Guelph Storm forward and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Tanner Richard will be Switzerland's key faceoff specialist at the 2013 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For the past two years, the under-20 national team of Switzerland has been desperately trying to reach the quarter-finals of the World Junior Championship. But, after two WJC's with heartbreaking losses in the decisive preliminary round game, and despite Swiss Ice Hockey’s success in avoiding relegation, the team saw a major coaching staff overhaul during the summer.
Photo: U.S. NTDP defenseman Steve Santini is considered a top defensive prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sitting in a sea of peacoats, it’s difficult to feel unique.
The idea of scouting as an exercise in finding diamonds in the rough is long dead. This is particularly evident at talent gatherings like the Four Nations Tournament, which took place from November 6th thru the 10th in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Photo: Swiss defenseman Phil Baltisberger is considered a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
Switzerland is still far from being a traditional hockey country, with soccer still the number one sport in that little landlocked country. However, the conditions for playing hockey over there are just perfect. Not only does the majority of Switzerland lie in an alpine environment, but its perfectly driven economics with loads of world-reknowned banks insure that everyone is wealthy and happy. At least, that's what Switzerland looks like from the outside.