They are the co-hosts of this years world party, defending champions and today, they are the team in the way of Canada for domination of their grouping at this years World Championships, Finland is on a roll once again and their big test has arrived.
While not the final round of the Championship, today's Canada / Finland game should give both clubs a good measuring stick as to how they're shaping up at this edition of the WHC.
If nothing else, it will at least provide for the first large crowd Team Canada has seen since their arrival, through the first week the one theme to the tournament has been the less than overwhelming amount of attention that Finns and Swedes have provided to their guests.
While games featuring the two home sides have been well attended, camera shots of games featuring other teams, in particular those we have seen featuring the Canadians, give the impression that we're dropping in on the Phoenix Coyotes of January at Jobbing.com, a place where seldom was heard a discouraging word and the fans stayed far, far away.
So, with a full house on the horizon, the Canadians may finally get an understanding that the Finns are the real deal here, the defending champs no doubt eager to send the visitors to the dressing room after period three with another loss on their official IIHF score sheet.
On the other side of that theory, should Canada come out on top in today's group showdown, then they instantly jump back into the forefront of the tournament. Beyond an OT setback with the Americans earlier in the tournament, the Canadians have found success with every game in the first round.
And while not a flashy, fire wagon style of hockey. There have been bursts of creativity, laid mostly over the foundation of hard work and attention to assignments. A recipe that is moving Canada into possible medal contention and slowly reminding the European hosts that there may yet be a challenge to their control over this tournament of late.
Who knows, with a win over the hosts today, maybe even a few more fans will be digging into their wallets for future Canadian games, just for a look see as to how the Canadians are doing.
May 11-- Team Canada 5 vs Finland 3
Canada has 4 wins 1 OT loss in tournament so far
Previews and Reviews
IIHF Recap-- By the Skinner their teeth
Globe and Mail-- Canada rallies for 5-3 victory over Finland
National Post-- Evander Kane seals Canada's comeback win over Finland
Edmonton Sun-- Team Canada jumps into first
IIHF Features page
Edmonton Sun-- Team Canada's loved ones headed to Helsinki
Edmonton Sun-- Russell rounds out Canada roster
Globe and Mail-- Underdog Canadians prepare to battle Finnish host at world championships
Globe and Mail-- Kris Russell joins Team Canada
National Post-- Finland will be a big test for Canada at hockey worlds
TSN-- Burrows progressing from injury; could play Friday at Worlds
Vancouver sun-- Canadians will have to 'step up' for Finland
Previous Team Canada items in tournament
May 9-- Canada vs Switzerland
May 7-- Canada vs France
May 5-- Canada vs USA
May 4-- Canada vs Slovakia