With Corey Perry as the lone Olympian on the Canadian squad, the team fell to the Russians in the World Hockey Championships on Thursday. The Russians took the victory in the quarterfinal matchup by a final score of 5-2.
The game drew immediate comparisons to the last time the Canadians and Russians met. The Olympic results were significantly different, however, with the Canadians pulling off the 7-3 victory on February 24. Perry scored two goals in that contest, but was in the penalty box for two key Russian goals on Thursday’s loss.
The Russians had a total of 14 Olympians on their team, including Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin. He popped in two goals in the game and goalie Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves.
The Russians will now head on to face the Germans in the semifinals and will put their seven-game winning streak to the test as they seek their 26th world title.
As for Canada, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002. The loss has to hurt, but it can also serve as a growing experience for many of the team’s younger players. These players will only learn from the experience and from the sting of the loss and it will build character as time goes by.
“You want to win and it’s disappointing when you don’t,” said forward Steven Stamkos. “It’s a bitter taste.”
That bitter taste is a little sweeter for Canadian fans when they consider the tremendous talent that the team has and will have for the next several years. Players like Stamkos and John Tavares will continue to cause trouble for opposing teams and they will grow with more experience.
Tavares will especially grow from the tournament. He put his tournament-leading seventh goal in the net on Thursday and should be one of Canada’s favoured players in the Olympics when they reach Sochi in four years. For the time being, this experience is the sort of thing that can’t simply be taught in a classroom.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.