VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- In case you've underestimated the intensity, emotions and stakes for this battle between Canada and the United States today in Olympic hockey (7:40 p.m. EST/4:40 p.m. PST) we give you American center Ryan Kesler:
"I hate them. ... It's a big rivalry. I wouldn't say I hate them; you have respect for the other team. Canadians expect to win the gold, and anything less is not good enough. It's going to be fun to try and knock them off."
As we said earlier today, this showdown is one in which the United States is driven by bitterness, desperation and national pride, while the Canadians are driven by an intense desire not to be embarrassed by their neighbors to the south and to put themselves in better position for the ultimate prize: the gold in the upcoming medal round.
You're not going to want to miss this one. It is, without question, one of the most highly anticipated games of the last several years.
Please join yours truly and the usual gang of knuckleheads from Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy hockey blog and Fourth-Place Medal Olympic blog for complete coverage. Tell a friend, and as always, bring the funny.