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: Czech Republic forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Tomas Hyka (#27), shown here playing at the 2012 WJC, is playing in his second U-20 WJC (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
If one were looking for an upset from the first three days of the 2013 World Junior Championship, probably the closest example came on Day 3 of the tournament with the Czech Republic's 3-1 win over Finland.
Photo: Although he wasn't a standout at the 2012 World Junior Championship, forward Radek Faksa's standing with scouts wasn't affected as he was chosen 12th overall at the 2012 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
A year ago in Alberta, the Czech Republic's U-20 national team was one of the surprises at the 2012 World Junior Championship. After stunning the United States in the preliminary round, the team took on Russia, surviving until overtime when the silver medal squad scored a controversial goal to defeat the Czechs. Besides the team success, Detroit Red Wings goalie prospect Petr Mrázek gained a lot of fans for his celebrations late in the game against the Americans.
Photo: Kamloops Blazers defenseman Jordan Thomson is currently considered to be one of the top defenders available for the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Jordan Thomson ranks among the top defensemen of the 2014 NHL Draft class. ISS lists Thomson 11th overall, and fourth among the defenseman available for the draft. So far in his rookie WHL season, Thomson has a goal and five assists in 23 games.
Photo: San Jose Sharks prospect Tomas Hertl achieved another milestone in his young career with his recent selection to the Czech Republic's top national team (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Two years ago, little was known about Tomáš Hertl, then a 16-year-old center for the junior team of Slavia Prague. That season, he played mostly in the Czech U-20 Extraliga, posting better numbers than Radek Faksa, who was, however, drafted at a higher place at the 2012 NHL Draft. The same year, Hertl had his Czech Extraliga debut, not collecting any points, but at the age of sixteen, surely letting the hockey world notice his name.