Take your best shot Canada ... not you, Ryan

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

VIENNA, Austria -- The last time Canada met Russia in the medal round of the world hockey championships was 1996.

It was the semifinal. Here. Canada won 3-2 in a shootout. The head coach was Tom Renney. The backup goaltender to Curtis Joseph was Martin Brodeur.

Renney looked around Wiener Stadthalle here yesterday and it all came back.

"I remember it well. It was a great game. I remember Cujo made one save off his mask. I remember Paul Kariya and Ray Ferraro scored in the shootout and it came down to Yanic Perreault.

"When he scored, everybody chased him around the ice.''

Canada ended up losing the gold-medal game 4-2 to the Czech Republic that year. The Czechs play Sweden in today's other semifinal.

The Russians made the match for this one by beating Finland in a shootout. Which begged the question. Who will take the shots should history repeat from here in 1996? Every hockey fan in the country would put Rick Nash, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley on the list. But who are the other two?

"We know. But we're not telling,'' said Renney, who coaches the offence on Marc Habscheid's Team Canada at this tournament.

Canada at least knows who is going to go for the Russians after what we saw of them against the Finns.

Maxim Afinogenov scored the winner for the Russians. Alexander Kharitonov, Alexei Yashin and Pavel Datsyuk took the others. The Russians didn't need to use their last shooter. "I wrote my list of shooters three hours before the team meeting,'' Russian coach Vladimir Krikunov said after the win.

"Maybe because of that we were able to score more than Finland.''

Habscheid, who said he watched the 1972 Paul Henderson game in school in Saskatchewan, said "to each his own'' in response to the Russian coach's comments. "We're going to keep it close to the vest.''

Ryan Smyth was asked if he thought he might get a shot at the shootout.

"Ha, ha, ha,'' was his response. Probably not.

Nash said he never thought about the shootout as the quarter-final came close to going to the buzzer tied 4-4.

"I haven't thought about that at all. I'll worry about getting picked first,'' he said of what move he might make.

Heatley says if he's picked, he won't make up his mind until he's well into the trip toward the net. "If I do get that chance, I'll decide what I'm going to do a split second before.''


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