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Player Diaries

World Cup diary: Matt Duchene

Team Canada forward discusses excitement of playing Team Russia in semifinals

by Matt Duchene / Special to NHL.com

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene is playing for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. The 25-year-old has agreed to keep a diary throughout the tournament in Toronto, which runs through Oct. 1. In his latest installment, Duchene talks about Team Canada's opponent in the semifinal Saturday, Team Russia, and how fortunate he feels to play Canada's two biggest rivals in the same tournament.

When you're a kid and you dream about playing for Team Canada, putting on that jersey and lining up along the blue line, you picture looking across the ice at either the United States or Russia. That's just what it is.

It's the rivalry. It's the history. It's part of being Canadian.

To get to do that twice in the same tournament is pretty special.

I didn't get to play Russia in the pretournament because I was injured, so this is going to be very exciting for me and for us as a team.

There have been so many great, historic hockey moments between Canada and Russia, but one that always sticks out to me is the quarterfinals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. I was in the NHL at the time, but I was a rookie that year and rookies never make the Olympic team. So I got to watch it as a fan of that team, and that game was so exciting to watch.

I was watching the game in Denver and the boys just came out flying in that first period, especially Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who I'm lucky enough to be playing with now.

Canada was up 6-1 after 24 minutes in that game, and while I don't know if we can get off to a start quite that good tonight, we want to come out hard.

Any team we play against, we want to go up early because we know if we do that and we're playing ahead, then we can control the game. I think everybody can say that, but at the same time for us, the way we roll four lines over, we're able to completely wear a team down if we're ahead in the game.

We want to be able to dictate this game. Every team wants to do that, but for us that's a huge priority.

We've tiptoed a little bit into the last two games. We've got to be hitting the ground running tonight, so we're going to look to do that.

I'm a little nervous for the game, but it's a good nervous. We just want to win this tournament, to do that we need to get to that best-of-3 final, and this is the last step before getting there. Anything can happen in a one-game showdown and we've got a great team we're playing against, so it makes you a little nervous.

But nervous in a good way. It's good energy. This is why you play the game.

I'm very excited to get out there tonight and hopefully get a big win.

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