TORONTO -- Patrick Kane has been a part of the USA-Canada rivalry a long time, from his childhood days in South Buffalo to momentous battles like the 2010 Olympic gold medal game in Vancouver. Another chapter will be added tonight in the World Cup of Hockey, with Team USA needing a victory to keep its hopes of a semifinal berth alive. The 8 p.m game is on ESPN.
"It's Canada-USA. There's so much history behind it, so many important games you played in or watched," Kane said after today's pregame skate in Air Canada Centre. "The rivalry really never dies. It's just one that keeps going on and on and it's fun to be a part of.
"That's kind of where hockey was at when I was younger growing up in Buffalo. Going up to Canada, missing school on Fridays to go up and play tournaments. You'd play two games every day and you knew if you were going up to Toronto it was going to be a big tournament and one where you'd see a lot of good competition. That's where the best hockey was when I was younger for sure and you always loved having that opportunity to defeat the Canadians and have a chance to play the best."
Coach John Tortorella said at practice on Monday that Kane would see more ice time in tonight's game than the 18:48 he played in Saturday's 3-0 loss to Team Europe and that the Americans -- who have been shut out three straight times in best-on-best competitions dating to the Sochi Olympics -- need their top players to produce.
"There's so many good players on the team you understand you're not going to get the ice time you would back with your National Hockey League team," Kane said. "It's something everyone is trying to deal with. The top players in the tournament are playing 15-16 minutes a night. As forwards you don't see that too often in the regular season. For me, it was a slow start to the last game and then you get into it and get more ice."
Tortorella is scratching two of his own Columbus players in forward Brandon Dubinsky and defenseman Jack Johnson, and putting in more offensive-minded players like New Jersey 30-goal scorer Kyle Palmieri and Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
"It kills me to take [Dubinsky] out because of how he competes," Tortorella said. " ... We just went on the side that I want to put a goal scorer in. but I can't bring that into the process. It's this team, this game."
The US played an uber-physical brand of hockey during its two exhibitions against Canada, including a win in Columbus. But Tortorella is looking for controlled aggression tonight.
"We have to win a game and we're certainly not going to win a game by parading to the penalty box," he said. "We're going to try to play the right way. I think we have to learn from some of our exhibitions, especially the first one, some patience in our game."
Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly of Canada watched the Columbus game on television back in Buffalo before joining the team. He expects more of the same tonight.
"Watching how intense it was, the physicality of it, every scrum, it was intense and that's the game we expect tonight," he said. "A physical gritty game. For us, it's not deviating. Sticking to our game plan. Staying disciplined, not just out of the box but in our system. Then we should be all right."