A Swede transition?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

TURIN -- Mats Sundin has an idea for Canadian hockey fans: Adopt the Swedes.

The captain of the Leafs admits Sweden might be the natural choice for disappointed fans of Team Canada, which was eliminated by Russia in the quarter-finals of the Olympics.

Not only do the Swedes boast Canadian content with Sundin and Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, they also have Vancouver Canucks twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

The Swedes, however, will be without Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund, who left the tournament yesterday with a broken rib.

Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall will take his place on the Swedish roster for today's semi-final against the Czech Republic.

"I hope (Canadians) cheer for us," Sundin said yesterday. "We'll take any support we can get. We're going to need it."

The Swedes were tagged as chokers after bowing out against Belarus at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, but they can take a major step by advancing to the gold-medal game on Sunday against the winner of the other semi-final between Russia and Finland.

"We know what we have to do," Sweden coach Bengt Gustafsson said. "We know this is going to be a tough test, but we're here to win the gold medal. That's what we want ... that's what everybody wants. We just have to get the job done."

With four European teams in the semi-finals, there were plenty of questions about the difference between North Americans and Europeans in their desire to win gold.

"I can only speak for myself, but the No. 1 thing for me is to win a Stanley Cup," said Alfredsson.

"Winning the Olympic gold medal is right up there at No. 2, but there's so much work that goes into winning a Stanley Cup and that's what you really want to get. "Right now, my priority is to win a gold. That's what everybody in our room wants."


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