Russia rolls, Canada folds

    A couple of days ago, undefeated Russia eliminated Canada (with Mason Raymond) in the World Championshops in Cologne, Germany. On Saturday, Russia beat Germany 2-1 and gained Sunday’s gold-medal game against the Czech Republic. Here’s a recap from Thursday’s game courtesy of the International Ice Hockey Federation website:

COLOGNE, Germany -– Russia continued its march to a third straight gold medal with a 5-2 triumph quarterfinal victory over Canada on Thursday for its seventh straight win at the 2010 IIHF World Championship and its 26th consecutive victory. Canada left the tournament with three straight losses, and four defeats in the final five games.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Russia defeated Germany 2-1, while the the Czech Republic edged Sweden 3-2 in a shootout earlier in the day. In Sunday’s final games, Russia faces the Czech Republic for the gold medal, and Sweden and Germany meet for the bronze medal.

The 26-game run at the world tournament began with the bronze medal game in 2007 and now the Russians are two games away from keeping a promise they made when Canada humiliated them in the quarterfinal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

"I feel good, this was a huge win,’ added Russia’s Denis Grebeshkov. "I’m happy that we’re now through to semifinal but I’m also happy for the way we played a defensively sound game.

After losing in the Winter Games to Canada, the Russian Olympians vowed then to show the world they had more to their mettle than what they showed in Vancouver and with 14 Olympians at the worlds here in Germany, they’ve answered those critics.

Russia has skill and speed and the players are listening to the coaching staff, which hasn’t always been the norm in international events.

Canada, with one player in the line-up who mined Olympic gold in Vancouver, finished seventh for its second worst showing since 1992 when they were eighth. The 2010 tournament marks the first semifinal that Canada has not qualified for since 2002.

"Looking back on it, one of the things I would have … spent more time on was educating our players about the world championship," said Canada’s executive director Mark Messier. "Especially the young players because of our lack of experience (about) just how tough this tournament is to win."