2013 World Juniors Report (Day 6)

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The Round Robin has come to an end in the 2013 World Juniors as teams have sealed their fate in the tournament. The tournament will now move on to the next rounds as some teams will play for a medal and others will be playing to stay in the tournament. With the round robin done there were plenty of players who did everything they could in building their stats. This tournament is important for a lot of player as they represent the future of hockey. For the bigger nations the tournament is more about putting one more thing on the hockey resume as many are already in the NHL or another pro league. These players have already been drafted and are simply looking to get a great experience in international play this year. For many other players though this tournament can be their road to being seriously considered in the NHL draft. Many of the major teams like the Russians, Americans, or Canadians have a system in place that brings NHL scouts to them in order to scout great talent. The rest of the countries must find their way to these development leagues in order to get their shot at a professional career. If they cannot find their way to these leagues they can be forgotten quickly as they will not have scouts find them. So these tournaments can be a very essential part to their development as a hockey player. Scouts from around the world watch this tournament to see those young players who have yet to be drafted. They look to see if these players can hang with the top talent in the world under big pressure. Many players will fall through the cracks in big games where they cannot figure out how they can beat bigger and better teams. Other players though will get their looks as they make an impact on the tournament. For a few players this tournament will just mean another aspect of their career but more players see this tournament as one of the biggest stages they will ever play on. It shows the difference between these teams as there are many levels to the World Juniors. It is not the World Championship and the best teams in the world are not necessarily the best teams in the Juniors. Some teams do see success in both levels like the Canadians and the Russians. The main reason for this is that both countries have a more sophisticated development system than most other countries. They have a system where players are made from the very start of their hockey life and groomed to be NHL players while weeding out the weaker players. Other countries like the Americans, Swedes and Finns are successful in the senior level but are not as successful in the junior levels. These teams are looking to the bigger systems for some help as they are getting better every year in their development systems. There are also teams like the Slovakians and the Czechs who have had some success in the senior level but are not focusing on their junior players leading to poor performances in the Juniors. The World Juniors are a big example of  the class system in international hockey and with the medal rounds approaching these classes are shown even more. The top teams are back in the top spots this year while the bottom teams are not as the only big surprise has been the Finnish team who will enter the relegation round although will not be relegated. Although the teams are separated the gaps are closing as the Juniors are not as simple as showing up for the big teams. As the classes close the gaps the tournament will only get better and so will the 2013 tournament as the medal rounds begin and games become that much more important.

 

Scores:
Czech Republic 4 – 3 Switzerland (OT)
– The Czechs won this game but the Swiss were able to push them into overtime which is a good second to winning the game as they took one point from the loss and waited for the Finland-Sweden game to see if they would move on

USA 9 – 3 Slovakia
– The USA was in a pressure filled situation as they could have easily fallen into a surprise loss against a good team in the Slovakians but they didn’t fall into the trap as they won the game and took third place in Pool B

Sweden 7 – 4 Finland
– One of the major rivalries would take place again and this time it was the difference in Finland’s tournament as they needed the win or at least overtime to stay in the tournament but could not get it as they would be pushed to the relegation round with the loss

Canada 4 – 1 Russia
– The rink was rocking in Ufa as the Canadians took on the Russians in one of the biggest games so far but the Canadians would come out on top after getting out to an early lead and not looking back to win the game and take the top spot in Pool B

 

Standings: 

Pool A:
1. Sweden (11)
2. Czech Republic (8)
3. Switzerland (6)
4. Finland (5)
5. Latvia (0)

 

Pool B:
1. Canada (12)
2. Russia (8)
3. USA (6)
4. Slovakia (3)
5. Germany (1)

 

Quarter-Finals:
Czech Republic vs. USA (Wednesday January 2nd; 4:00 am EST)
– The Czechs would finish in second place after the Finns would be eliminated and for that they get the USA in the first quarter-final with the winner of this game earning a date with the Canadians in the Semi-Finals

Switzerland vs. Russia (Wednesday January 2nd; 8:00 am EST)
– Switzerland was not expected to be here at the beginning of the tournament but they were able to get a lot done in Pool A although their tournament may end quickly when they take on a very good Russian team

 

Relegation:
Finland vs. Germany (Wednesday January 2nd; 6:00 am EST)
– Finland is looking to save face at this point as they have already beat the Latvians and need two more wins to finish in 7th place and stay far away from relegation while the Germans need something to stay out of that last spot

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