Don't Russia to judgment

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- Ken Hitchcock saw this coming.

The Team Canada head coach threw out a quote after the morning skate which made it sound like he'd already watched last night's game between Canada and Russia.

"It's the wakeup call we need. The Russians came here ready to play at a real high tempo. It's a real good wakeup.

"They have a lot of players who are here for one reason. What happened last year in Moscow didn't sit well," he said of the host nation losing to Finland in the semifinal, with Canada ending up with the gold medal.

"They want to win this thing."

They won the final pre-tournament game prior to the IIHF World Hockey Championships 4-1 before a crowd of 13,291.

When it was over, Hitchock said: "I told you so.

"I knew that was what the call would be here with the lineup I knew they were going to play. These guys have played a lot together over in Russia. They just sprinkle in the NHL players.

"We've got guys skating in their first game. We had to get them out of the holiday mode into the competitive mode.

"That's a challenge we face every year. It's how fast you're able to do it which determines how you'll do in the tournament.

"It's good for everybody to be reminded how good teams are at this level."

With all but the final two selections to the team - Mike Green and Dan Hamhuis -- showing up either the night before or in the morning, Canada wasted no time in getting them on the ice.

While Rick Nash, who is coming off minor throat surgery, did not play, Dany Heatley, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Derek Roy and Brent Burns all played their first game.

It didn't take Burns long to get into it. He gave Canada a 1-0 lead on a screened shot from the point 17 seconds into the game.

The Russians played four NHL players -- Dmitri Kalinen, Denis Grebeshkov, Maxim Afinogenov and Ilya Kovalchuk but did not dress Alexander Ovechkin, who joined the other NHLers -- Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Semin, and Alexander Radulov -- in the press box.

The Russians brought 20 other players who had been training on a Canadian-sized ice surface constructed at their training site in Moscow. They defeated Switzerland 6-2 Sunday afternoon in Trois-Rivieres.

Sergey Mozyakin of Mytishi in the Russian Elite League scored in the first period and former NHLer Fedor Fedorov beat Canadian netminder Pascal Leclaire, who was replaced by Cam Ward midway in the second.

The two goaltenders each played half of the first game against Finland, both giving up a goal. Ward gave up another in the second to Alexey Tereshenko of Ufa. Mozyankin also scored into an empty net in the final moments.

The game had a good pace and several pushing and shoving sessions.


Videos

Photos