Not much context is needed for today's first semifinal. U.S.A. and Canada, two traditional yet somewhat allied (in a Don Cherry vs. the world kind of way) hockey rivals, meet in the semifinal for the chance to play for gold.
USA vs. Canada
The U.S. is coming off an absolute demolition of the Czech Republic. Canada earned the bye to the semifinal but Dougie Hamilton and others remember too well that last year that extra rest didn't make a difference.
In group play, Canada took a 2-0 lead and hung on to win 2-1 vs. the U.S. in a tight match that required periods of great play from both goalies.
For Islanders fans, if Canada has the lead late again, look for both Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart to get key roles in sealing the game.
Russia vs. Sweden
Not to ignore the other side of the bracket -- and we have both Russian and Swedish partisans in our community -- host Russia takes on defending champion Sweden in the other semifinal. Sweden also is coming off a bye after winning Group A. Russia played yesterday morning and survived a dastardly scare by tying Switzerland late and then prevailing in a shootout.
All told, it is a solid quartet of semifinalists that many picked to be here before the tournament began. The next four games (including the bronze medal game) should be fantastic.
Broadcasts for U.S.-Canada begin at 4 a.m. EST, and Russia-Sweden is at 8 a.m. EST. Whether you're watching either live or catching up later, leave your thoughts, observations, salutations and sadness here.
P.S. You may notice another design tweak to the SB Nation format happened. On the home page, the local navigation to your FanPosts and FanShots is easier, and we now have a thinner "cover" format that can take up less vertical space when we choose. Hopefully this makes things smoother and restores some of the prominence of reader contributions that was lost in the initial redesign. As always, feedback on design and function is welcome.
P.P.S. Some pretty sweet Duane Sutter jersey and highlight love here.