Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov admitted that his team’s 5-2 victory over Canada Thursday at the 2010 IIHF ice hockey world championship was not at all revenge for the Canadians beating Russia in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Winter Olympics on their way to Vancouver gold.

“No, not at all,” Bykov said through his interpreter after Russia’s win at the worlds quarters in Germany.

“It’s a completely different tournament. The Olympic Games level is higher. But this is the second-best international tournament. And everybody wants to win.”

The record 25-time world champion Russians had beaten 24-time world champs Canada in the final of the last two worlds. But the showdown of the two superpowers came already at the quarterfinal stage.

That was exactly the case at the 2010 Games, where Canada thrashed the Russians 7-3 en route to the gold medal.

The Russian squad in Germany includes 14 players from the Olympic squad while Canada are solely represented by Corey Perry.

Thursday’s game in Cologne lived up to the billing of a top showdown with plenty of offense, some big hits and more than a fair share of bad blood as the second and third periods repeatedly were halted with the giants of the sport drawing blows with one another.

“It’s always very emotional when Russia plays against Canada,” said Bykov.

The Russian coach, meanwhile, refused to call his team the favorites among the semifinalists with Russia taking on inspired hosts and semifinal debutants Germany while Sweden take on the Czech Republic.

“There are four teams still playing. And there are four teams who are the favorites. We are just one of them,” said Bykov, who was Russia’s coach in Vancouver.

Canada have played to and lost to three of the four semifinalists – Sweden, the Czechs and Russia in their three games of the tournament. And Canada coach Craig MacTavish said Russia must be considered the favorite.

“It’s the final four and everybody is a favorite. But Russia would be the favorite for me with the fire power that they have exhibited,” said MacTavish.

“Sweden though is playing exceptionally well. They are big in the back end and move the puck very well. The Czechs played very hard too. And I would say that Germany will have the fans.”

After a day off on Friday, the semifinals will be played Saturday in Cologne. And MacTavish is looking forward to the end of the tournament.

“It’s going to be a good finish,” said the Canadian coach.



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