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Sports

Yzerman's picking the Russians

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Russia is the favorite.

So says Steve Yzerman, the executive director for Canada's hockey team, which is expected to win gold at the Vancouver Olympics by the entire host country.

"They've got some of the top forwards in the world right now," Yzerman said of the Russians, the two-time defending world champs, at a news conference Saturday.

"They're the No. 1-ranked team in the world. They're the favorite going into this tournament. We have to play our best, and with a little bit of luck the other countries can dethrone them."

Considering the burden on the Canadian players in their hockey-crazed home, Yzerman is perhaps wise in painting his powerful squad as an underdog. He asserted that other countries face the same pressure.

"Do you think they'll have a parade in Moscow if the Russians win the silver medal? They won't," the former Detroit Red Wings star said. "The expectation in Russia is gold. The expectation in Sweden is gold. Whether they admit it or not, the USA is in this to win a gold medal."

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