With the NHL lockout ruining the lives of professional hockey fans in North America since the middle of September, the one bright-spot for Canadian hockey fans was the loaded roster their World Junior Championship team was sending to Ufa, Russia for the 2013 edition of the tournament.
Led by Edmonton Oilers young star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, many believed Team Canada was primed for a gold medal run. After a flawless performance in the round-robin portion of the tournament, this belief was further substantiated.
However, after a stunning 5-1 loss to Team USA in the semifinal round, Team Canada will be left with the possibility of leaving Russia empty handed.
At the best, they can capture bronze when they face Russia on Saturday.
In addition to Canada, Team Russia will also face the reality of a hollow finish in the 2013 World Junior Championship. Led by their own representative from the Oilers in Nail Yakupov, the host nation's team hoped to set a precedent for gold medal finishes in international play.
With next Winter's Olympic games scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, a gold medal finish in Ufa would have acted as a wonderful appetizer.
Now, those expectations will need to be hampered.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live in the United States at 4:00 a.m., ET and will be re-broadcast at 5:30 p.m., ET.
The game will also be broadcast live in Canada on TSN and will be re-broadcast at 1 p.m., ET, as well as 7:30 p.m., ET.