Canadian teams have become rather used to bringing back gold medals at International tournaments, so last years silver finish at the World Championship has only proven to be a motivating factor for this years collection of the European Expeditionary Force.
Canada sets out to begin the process of reclaiming gold on Friday, as the Canadian squad takes to the ice against Belarus. The championships will be the final competition before next winters Olympic games in Vancouver, so the Canadian squad will be playing for gold and for some a chance to join that Olympic team and a shot at an Olympic medal.
Head coach Lindy Ruff of the Buffalo Sabres has drawn the assignment of repatriating the gold medal, taking his club into the tournament considered a co-favourite with the Russian team. As has been the case over the last number of years, all teams go into the opening round of the tournament with a few spots held open for potential recruits as the NHL playoffs continue with their process of attrition.
It's an intangible that is hard to plan for, but one which can change the dynamic of the tournament quite quickly, depending on which teams back in North America are eliminated and which players are quick to accept the invite to come overseas to play for their nation.
There's not much to be done about that until the names are proposed and the travel arrangements made, so for the short term it's a case of preparing for each game with the personnel on hand, not quite a homogeneous team, but certainly better than your average pick up squad at the local rink on a Saturday night.
In addition to Belarus, Canada will face Hungary and Slovakia in the opening round, before the seeding changes for the second stage of the tournament. All of Canada's World Championship games will broadcast back to Canada on TSN.
National Post-- Coyotes' Doan to captain Canada for third straight year
Canadian Press-- Erase the bitter taste
Hockey Canada-- Team Canada Tournament homepage