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World Cup storylines

Updated: August 25, 2004, 8:11 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | Special to ESPN.com

On the ice, the World Cup of Hockey has a decidedly slow-burning fuse.

There are the exhibition games and then three essentially meaningless pool games (especially in the North American pool where all four teams can make cases that they're championship material) before gears shift dramatically to three straight elimination games to take ownership of the title as the world's finest hockey team.

But if the on-ice drama will be slow to percolate, it will be more than made up for with ...

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