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How the World Cup will be won

Sidney Crosby and Carey Price have brought Canada to another international tournament final. What are the keys to the series against Team Europe? Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO -- Midway through his team's shocking run in the World Cup of Hockey, Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger made a comment in passing that has helped explain how his team has advanced as far as it has.

He said there are skills in hockey besides the ones you normally associate with the game. We think of skill and we think of Connor McDavid's speed or Shea Weber's shot or Patrick Kane's hands.

But in Krueger’s mind, experience is a skill. Smart hockey is a skill. Leadership is a skill. They’re all skills that can be developed, all skills that can make you a better hockey player and team. All of these are skills that Team Europe has in abundance.

Frans Nielsen, who has been great in this tournament, put it this way: “I don’t think we’ve been one of the best teams in the tournament, but we’ve been one of the smartest.”

Make no mistake, Europe is a massive underdog heading into the World Cup finals that start Tuesday.