Canada was defeated by Slovakia 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Hockey Championships, giving the Canadian hockey press a fresh source of faux-angst to grind as we reach the midway point between the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
Canada has never warmed to the annual world tournament, due primarily to its scheduling conflict with the NHL playoffs, and the European venues which make the games inconvenient to watch live. However, this does represent the first time that Canada has lost at the quarterfinal stages in three consecutive years, leading some pundits to question Canada's commitment to its international hockey program following its epic victory at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The fact is that Canada built an experimental roster for this year's world championships emphasising youth and missing many of the key cogs that would be included on the Olympic roster. And while the depth of Canada's hockey talent is such that Canada could easily field two competitive teams for any international tournament, the idea that any roster of 20 Canadian players should dominate is preposterous. Slovakia is a legitimate opponent for any of the traditional hockey powers and a loss to them here, in a tournament that they value much more than the Canadians, is not anything to worry about.
At this time of a non-olympic year, Canadians aren't interested in gold. They're after a 35 pound chunk of silver named Stanley.