Russia, Canada renew fierce rivalry
COLOGNE, Germany — Sergei Fedorov has a (wink-wink) selective memory.
A German television reporter stopped Fedorov and the topic was the world championship quarter-final on Thursday afternoon (2 p.m. ET) between Russia and Canada.
The reporter asked Fedorov about his memory of playing Canada at the Olympic Games in Vancouver three months ago.
The reply was: "What Olympic Games?"
When Vancouver was mentioned again, Fedorov said: "Where is that?"
Then as he turned to head to the dressing room, Fedorov said he was only joking.
Fedorov remembers what happened in Vancouver. The Russians sailed through the preliminary round when they ran into Canada in the quarter-finals.
The Canadians won 7-3, prompting Russia's Olympic goalie lya Bryzgalov to say about the Canadian onslaught: "They came like gorillas coming out of a cage."
While the Russians were nursing their wounds in the dressing room three months ago, they vowed to make amends in Germany and to regroup to win a third straight world championship, which goes a long was in explaining why 14 Russian Olympians are competing in this tournament.
The Canadians are young and have one player back from Vancouver, Corey Perry.
Russia has won its six games to date at the 2010 hockey worlds, and Canada heads into the win or go home game with three straight losses.
The subject of a grudge match was front and centre as the Russians and Canadians prepared to renew their rivalry.
Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk wasn't buying into it.
"It's kind of special to meet Canada after the Olympics, but it's a different tournament and it's tough to compare the Olympics and the worlds," said Kovalchuk. "It's kind of a revenge, but the real rematch will be played in Sochi in 2014 [at the Winter Olympic tournament].
"They have a really young team, but they're hungry for the win so we have to be ready."
The Russians have established themselves as the team to beat at the 2010 worlds. Their offensive arsenal includes Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Sergei Gonchar and Fedorov.
The Canadians won't get into a run-and-gun game because they don't have the firepower to match.
Canada coach Craig MacTavish feels the key will be to contain the Russians.
"You can't be caught backing off," said MacTavish. "You have to be aggressive when you play the Russians. Otherwise, they're going to come at you with a lot of speed. You want to take the game to them and that's going to be our mentality."
When Canada general manager Mark Messier picked Canada's roster, he had one eye on Germany and the other on the 2014 Olympic Games.
"We find ourselves here in the quarter-finals [with] an opportunity to play a team that hasn't lost in  games and is a powerhouse in world championship competition," said Messier.
"One of the goals of coming here was to give these players this kind of experience in this kind of game. We find ourselves in the situation we wanted to be in and it'll be a good test for them.''