The game everyone was hoping for will not be for all the marbles, but Canada still gets its chance for revenge on Russia.
When the two rivals meet Tuesday night in the second semi-final of the world junior hockey championship (TSN's coverage starts at 8:30 p.m. Eastern), the Canadians will be looking to avenge last year's embarrassment. That one saw the Russians score five goals in the third period to wipe out a Canadian lead and take home the gold medal, albeit with a little unpleasantness at the Buffalo airport early the next morning when a few too many of the winning lads and their traveling party failed to interrupt their victory party with enough sleep to render them sober enough to fly. Airline authorities were not amused and the team got the boot from its flight.
There is no shortage of analysis of what should be a crackling good game. The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek looks at the dilemma facing junior coach Jacques Beaulieu .
Well, it isn't really a dilemma, since Beaulieu really wants his son Nathan and the rest of the Canadians to win. But things will be interesting at Sarnia Sting practices next week either way, considering Beaulieu's wager with his star player on the Sting, Nail Yakupov, who plays for the Russians.
Meanwhile, our Allan Maki takes a look at the other semi-final (TSN, 5 p.m. Eastern), which features two other bitter hockey rivals, Sweden and Finland.
Elsewhere in the hockey world...
There is no shortage of gloom, doom and panic, which is just how we like it.
Let's start in Montreal, where a day without panic concerning the Canadiens has yet to dawn. The latest contretemps, which is actually a continuation of last month's contretemps has a wonderfully Canadian twist: an apology.
Yes, Habs general manager Pierre Gauthier, known as The Ghost for his infrequent appearances in front of the bilingual monsters of the media, issued an apology Monday for his faux pas of promoting Randy Cunneyworth to head coach despite the fact his French is as good as that of the average graduate from an Etobicoke, Ont., high school. An apology. How Canadian.
In the meantime, Red Fisher, who's been covering the Habs since Rocket Richard was making Quebec high school girls swoon, shows what Hab fans should really be upset about with this deconstruction of the Ghost's reign of error.
And what's a day in the NHL without New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella going off? He went into a nice little rant following the annual Winter Classic that might have come from one of those Twitter nut bars who thinks the NHL conspires all season to have the Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings meet in the Stanley Cup final. Well, it should make for a great final episode of 24/7.
Burris deal is of questionable benefit
This might have made a good story five years ago, that quarterback Henry Burris was traded from the Calgary Stampeders to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Globe's indefatigable Allan Maki has the story.
However, at 36 years of age, the benefits Burris will bring to the Ticats are somewhat dubious.
Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson missed two field goals, one late in the fourth quarter and the other in overtime that allowed No. 3 Oklahoma State to beat No. 4 Stanford in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl. That ended all sorts of drama in a battle between quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden and the Orange County Register's Mark Whicker has a good look at it here.
This sets up a great debate going into next Monday's BCS championship – should Oklahoma State be considered the best team in U.S. college football if No. 2 Alabama knocks off No. 1 LSU in the championship game? Brett McMurphy considers the question here on CBSSports.com