With a record of 6 and 1, Canada enters the quarterfinal segment of the World Championships as the first place finisher of Group A, a position that provides for them Slovakia as the Quarter final opponent on Thursday.
And while it may seem as a bit of a mis-match between the top finisher and the team that just squeaked into the quarterfinals, the bigger picture for the Slovaks being that with their trip to the playoff round they have now qualified for the 2014 Olympics, apparently job 1 for the Slovaks heading into this World Championship.
So with little pressure on them for the rest of this year's tournament, it will be a loose squad that takes to the ice, a one game, winner moves on opportunity in a tournament where the underdog on occasion has risen up to send the favourites packing.
Canada brings it's own concerns into this quarterfinal, anxious to improve on their results over the last few years and with a pretty impressive run in the first round they surely must feel as though their chances for a gold are within their grasp as long as they stay focused and don't end up handing away a victory through frustration and untimely plays.
That perhaps may be the most important task for head coach Brent Sutter heading into Thursday's game, to keep the Canadian squad on the blue print that has provided for success thus far, should he find his players amenable, there should be more hockey to come for Canada heading into the Championship weekend.
May 17-- Team Canada 3 vs Slovakia 4
Canada is eliminated from medal contention
Previews and Reviews
IIHF Recap-- Slovaks score late, win 4-3
Globe and Mail-- Canada ousted at World Hockey Championships
National Post-- Canada eliminated from hockey worlds after quarter-final loss to Slovakia
Edmonton Sun-- Slovaks knock out Canada
TSN-- Canadian Captain Getzlaf has world championship to forget
IIHF Feature page
TSN-- Canada set for Quarterfinal game against Slovakia
Globe and Mail-- Marc Methot suspended for "reckless" hit at world championships
National Post-- Canada has plenty of reasons to be wary of Slovakia
National Post-- Canada clinches number 1 seed
Edmonton Sun-- Trying to take noose off Canada's necks
Edmonton Sun-- The Study of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Edmonton Sun-- Murray back in yet again for Canada
Previous Team Canada items in the tournament
May 15-- Canada vs Belarus
May 12-- Canada vs Kazakhstan
May 11-- Canada vs Finland
May 9-- Canada vs Switzerland
May 7-- Canada vs France
May 5-- Canada vs USA
May 4-- Canada vs Slovakia