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Pool A


Outlook Seeking to make world junior championship history with a sixth consecutive gold medal.

Player to watch Regina native Jordan Eberle already has one of the biggest goals in Team Canada WJC lore. It's his turn to be the dominant Canadian forward and celebrate in his home province.

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Outlook If 10 returning players can pull an upset or two, could advance to the playoff round.

Player to watch Forward Roberts Bukarts had six points in the WJC tournament last year, has played 24 KHL games this season.


Outlook Improving on last year's fourth place will be difficult, but should advance to the medal round because of a weak group.

Player to watch Forward Tomas Tatar , a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings, led his team with 11 points in seven games at the 2009 tournament.


Outlook Staying in neutral would be an achievement. The Swiss return as many as nine players and need to outdo Latvia and Austria to avoid relegation.

Player to watch Defenceman Roman Josi , a second-round selection of the Nashville Predators, played in the 2007 tournament as a 16-year-old.

United States

Outlook A veteran team loaded with talent staggered home in fifth place last year. Minus game-stealing goaltending, the rebuilding Americans will play a bunch of underagers and plant seeds for 2011 in Buffalo.

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Player to watch Forward Jordan Schroeder , a Vancouver Canucks first-rounder, is playing in his third WJC and should be one of the tournament's best players.

Pool B


Outlook New kid on the block qualified for the world under-20 championship from the IIHF's Division 1-B Pool, but will be hard-pressed to avoid demotion.

Player to watch Undersize defenceman Stefan Ulmer (5 foot 10, 165 pounds) won a Memorial Cup with the WHL's Spokane Chiefs.

Czech Republic

Outlook Making no progress after four consecutive appearances in the fifth-place game. Could be bumped to the relegation round in a tough group.

Player to watch Diminutive winger Jan Kana (5 foot 7), a former star with the QMJHL's PEI Rocket, tallied nine points in six games at the 2009 tournament.

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Outlook Was forced into the relegation round last year, but could return nine players (six forwards, three defencemen) and are medal contenders.

Player to watch Forward Teemu Hartikainen , an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, was his country's top scorer and best plus-minus player last year.


Outlook Hopes took a hit when the New York Rangers wouldn't release forward Evgeny Grachev. An impressive crop of 18-year-old forwards could offset his loss.

Player to watch Winger Nikita Filatov was the best non-Canadian forward at WJC in Ottawa last year. The world's No. 1 prospect, according to The Hockey News, has flourished (14 points in 12 KHL games) since being lent out by the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Outlook The 2009 gold-medal game drew a record television audience, and the country's interest in the world juniors could explode if the Young Crowns win their first gold medal since 1981.

Player to watch Forward Mattias Tedenby contributed to a Swedish Elite League title last spring, and the tournament veteran has moves worthy of

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More


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