2008 world championship
Canada faces Russia for gold
Canada and Russia have never met in the final game of the world championship, and the hosts are looking to become the first to win on home soil since the Soviet Union did it in 1986. The last country to even play for a gold medal at home was Sweden in 1995 and they were beaten by rival Finland.
Russia's used quite a few non-NHLers, although that's not necessarily a disadvantage in a game that's European players' equivalent of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. CSKA Moscow defenceman Konstantin Korneyev is tied for the team lead with Denis Grebeshkov at plus-11 and is second among blueliners playing about 17 minutes a game.
Their depth chart looks like so (by icetime, NHLers in bold):
Forward: Semin - Fedorov - Ovechkin - Kovalchuk - Zinoviev - Sushinsky - Gorovikov - Zaripov - Morozov - Mozyakin - Tereschenko - Afinogenov - Radulov
Defence: Kalinin - Korneyev - Nikulin - A. Markov - Proshkin - Vorobyev - Tyutin - Grebeshkov - D. Markov
Goal: Nabokov - Biryukov - Eremenko
That's a lot of firepower.
Vorobyev sat on defence in the semi-final, and likely will again, while Ilya Kovalchuk was suspended for that game against the Finns. He'll be back to face Canada.
I've got my eye out for anyone else blogging about this game, but this tournament, despite being in Canada for the first time, really hasn't gained much of a following outside of the host cities.
That's not a problem in Russia, where a win will have them dancing in the streets. That country's entry at the world championship hasn't won gold in 15 years.
Still, the IIHF should really consider revamping their format to wipe out a few of the dud games.