U.S. replaces Russia as Canada's No. 1 rival
04.01.2008. Wharnsby, Tim. The Globe and Mail

The cracks, taunts and trash talk started weeks, even months ago.

Kyle Turris, a classy kid from New Westminster, B.C., and a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, was living in a foreign land and had to put up with sporadic verbal onslaughts from his two college teammates who play for the U.S. under-20 hockey team.

"We've been talking about this for the past couple of months," said Turris, whose Canadian team will meet the United States today in the semi-finals of the world under-20 hockey championship. "We know all about their game, they know all about our game. So it's going to be about who wants it most, I think. There's a lot of trash talk and it's still going on."

Turris isn't the only Canadian who will have a teammate on the other side. Canada's Steve Mason, who will start in goal, faces defenceman Kevin Montgomery of Rochester, N.Y., daily in practice with the London Knights of the OHL.

Because of the personal rivalries and recent history of heated and important games between the two countries, the United States has replaced Russia as Canada's biggest opponent.

"It's huge," Turris said. "I'm sure the whole team would agree that this is the biggest rivalry. It's just such a war. We play almost an identical game. We both have the skill players and the hard-working players. It comes down to who wants it most and who's going to work the hardest and sacrifice the most to win it."

There is, of course, the U.S.-Canada women's hostility. Canada beat the U.S. men's team at the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002, and there have been many chippy encounters between the two teams at the world junior tournament. The United States scored a come-from-behind victory to beat Canada in the 2004 final. There was the heated dust-up between U.S. defenceman Jack Johnson and Canadian forward Steve Downie in the round-robin game, won 3-2 by Canada, in 2006.

The rivalry was heightened last year when Canada persevered in a semi-final shootout to beat the United States 2-1. In that game, the Canadians needed a power-play goal from defenceman Luc Bourdon with 7 minutes 41 seconds remaining and then an outstanding effort from forward Jonathan Toews and goaltender Carey Price in the shootout.

Even though some of the players on both sides are friends, is there an on-ice dislike for one another?

"I think so," Turris said. "When the game happens, there's a lot of dislike. We'll still be friends in the end, but tomorrow I'm not a big fan of those guys. I'm sure there's going to be some battle wounds and words said on the ice tomorrow that we don't really mean."

The Canadians, 4-1, will be the underdogs. They haven't displayed the sort of domination they have in winning the three previous consecutive gold medals, and that has Canadian fans concerned.

After downing the Czech Republic 3-0 and Slovakia 2-0, they lost to Sweden 4-3, beat Denmark 4-1 and edged Finland 4-2 in a quarter-final thriller on Wednesday.

The United States skated through the round robin with wins over Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Russia and Finland by a combined score of 17-8. The only common opponent has been Finland, which the United States beat 5-3 last Monday.

"All the guys on my team [in Wisconsin] say they're going to take us this year and kill us," Turris said. "I'm not going to say much. But they're in for a war. We're not going to give up."

The United States, a puck-possession team with plenty of skill, has the tournament's best line in Colin Wilson, Jordan Schroeder and James van Riemsdyk, who was taken second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL draft. This three have combined for 10 goals.

"The fact is, USA is usually better in football and usually better in basketball, but hockey is our thing," Canadian captain Karl Alzner said.

За 3 место. США - Россия. Голы россиян.
Финал. Швеция - Канада
Финал. Интервью с Марчандом.
Подгруппа А
Канада, Швеция, Чехия, Словакия, Дания
Подгруппа В
Россия, США, Финляндия, Швейцария, Казахстан
За 7-10 места
Слования, Казахстан, Швейцария, Дания

1/4 финала
Канада - Финляндия
Россия - Чехия
1/2 финала
Швеция - Россия
США - Канада
Чехия - Финляндия
США - Россия
Канада - Швеция
Первая страничка турнира
Статистика турнира
Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2008 года.
Первая страничка
Дивизион I. Группа А
Дивизион I. Группа B
Дивизион II. Группа А
Дивизион II. Группа B
Дивизион III