The World Cup of Hockey is down to four teams. Two of these will meet in the best-of-three final next week and one will win. I mean, that one will probably be Canada, who has so far dominated the tournament pretty thoroughly. But, hey, ya never know.
Semifinals (single elimination)
Saturday, Sept. 24
Team Canada vs. Team Russia, 7 p.m., ESPN2, CBC, TVA Sports
Sunday, Sept. 25
Team Sweden vs. Team Europe, 1 p.m., ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports
Before their coronation, Team Canada needs to make it past Team Russia, a group that seems to enjoy making things as difficult as possible for themselves. It’s all about Crosby versus Ovechkin as usual, but it’s really more about Sergei Bobrovski versus Canada’s skaters and Russia’s skaters versus Carey Price, who’s only allowed two goals in two preliminary games.
In the other semifinal, Group B winner Team Sweden faces the amalgamated Team Europe on Sunday afternoon (at the same time the Giants take on Washington). Sweden hasn’t looked as dominating as it usually does in international competition, losing an OT thriller to Team North America (RIP) and to Team Europe 6-2 in the practice games. A score like that one probably won’t happen again, but no one’s laughing about the Team Europe gimmick anymore. Krueger’s Krew is playing with house money now and they have a real chance to
finally reach Earth get to the final.
I got all the way here without mentioning any Islanders. John Tavares and Nikolay Kulemin will be on opposite sides of Saturday’s semifinal, and Jaroslav Halak will be the starter for Europe on Sunday (with Thomas Greiss scratched again I assume).
Here’s the part where we mention Halak is something like 7-0 versus Henrik Lundqvist in his Islanders career. Will that streak transfer over to a sorta-national team? Team Europe is betting on it.
Good luck to all the teams. And Don’t Get Hurt.