At the 2009 World Hockey Championships over in Switzerland, Canada and Russia are preparing for their gold medal game showdown on Sunday.
It is the sixth time in the last seven years Canada has made the gold medal game. Canada won 3 golds in that time, and 24 in the tournament's history.
It is also a rematch of last year's gold medal game, where Russia beat Canada in overtime in last year's game.
It is also a very possibly 2010 Olympic preview, as the two eternal rivals seem destined to establish themselves as gold medal favorites.
That being said, very few of the key figures next February will be playing on Sunday. Russia has last year's hero Ilya Kovalchuk, along with KHL great Alexei Morozov. Ilya Bryzgalov will be the goalie on Sunday, and may be next year, too.
Canadian 2010 hopefuls playing on Sunday include Shea Weber, Martin St. Louis, Dany Heatley, and Shane Doan.
After growing up watching the great hockey rivalry between Canadian and Soviet hockey in the 1970s and 1980s, it is great to see Russia's re-emergence as Canada's equal.
It is almost amazing really, given only 36 Russians played in the NHL this season, just 28 if you do not include those who appeared in 10 or fewer regular season games.
Yet, as evidenced by Hart and Pearson trophy voting, you could argue the top three players in the league were all Russians - Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk. Kovalchuk, Alexander Semin and defensemen Andrei Markov and Denis Grebeshkov all had strong season.
Talent has never been lacking in Russia, but goaltending has been spotty ever since the days of Vladislav Tretiak. That should not be a problem any longer. While only four Russian goalies played in the NHL this year, all are standouts - Evgeni Nabokov, Nikolai Khabibulin, Bryzgalov and playoff surprise Simeon Varlamov.
Hockey's great cold war looks very much poised for another great era.