Canada and Russia are set to renew acquaintances tomorrow night in Toronto for the latest chapter in this storied rivalry.
The Canadian Men’s National Team, on an unprecedented run, comes into the proceedings on a 13 game winning streak since 2010 in the Olympics, when it is best on best. While the two teams faced each other just once in that time period (a 7-3 throttling of Russia), the players recognize the rivalry, whether it’s from their days in the u-18 program, the World Junior Championships, or the World Hockey Championships and what it means to Canadian kids.
After practice, Canadian players took time to discuss their favorite memories against Team Russia.
Logan Couture: This is my first time against this team (Russians) so I do not have a personal memory, but from watching on TV it looks intense. The one that sticks out to me is when they played Russia in 2010 and Nabokov was the goalie for Russia, and I was watching because I was with the Sharks, and a lot of guys from our team were playing in that game.
Corey Perry: Beating them in the Final in Grand Forks (North Dakota, 2005 World Junior) and Vancouver 2010, those are highlights, but, this time around it’s a different team and you have to go out and prove yourself all over again tomorrow night.
John Tavares: There’s plenty. The one I played in Ottawa was pretty spectacular (2009 World Juniors), you know, tying it in the last minute, last few seconds, and then us playing overtime. I just remember the crowd standing the whole time and the game going back and forth, and end up being in a shootout, just a see-saw type of game, another 6-5 type of game that had a little bit of everything in it.
Ryan Getzlaf: The Gold Medal game in Grand Forks for the World Juniors probably a big one for us. A lot of the guys in this group were over there and we’ve done that together, but other than that, that’s probably the biggest one I remember.
Ryan O’Reilly: It’s tough to say, there’s been so many. Every time we play it’s always exciting. I think for myself, the last time it was the World Championships, beating them, it was pretty special. We played a phenomenal game and they came out with all the firepower they had and to give them nothing, just to do that together as a team, it’s pretty special.
Jonathan Toews: For me, it was the World Juniors. Playing them was such a thrill, one of my first times, so it really was special and stood out in my memory.
Carey Price: No. Not really.
In front of what should be a raucous crowd, this group of players will look to write a new chapter in the great Russia-Canada rivalry, the game gets under way, at 7 PM from the Air Canada Centre.