Swedes philosophical

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

In other circles, such a fall from grace would lead to a call for the head coach's head.

In Canada, they would demand the whole system be scrapped and start anew.

But, in Sweden, not so much. The Swedes won the silver medal at the last Winter Olympics after upsetting the United States, but are now battling just for the right to be in the bronze medal game at the 2007 Women's World Hockey Championship.

NOT HANGING HEADS

Still the Swedes are not hanging their heads after being dropped into the second group because of Thursday's 1-0 overtime loss to archrival Finland.

"We would like any medal," Sweden coach Peter Elander said yesterday. "It's so hard to win medals. Sweden had just one World Cup medal -- a bronze medal in 2005 -- before. The (Olympic) silver was a great thing but it's history now, so you have to take every game as a new game and we've played close games against Finland."

And the homeland will still support them.

"They think we are a real good program and we're going for the (2010) Olympics in Vancouver," Elander said. "That's a long-time project. So we have the basics but this is a big event and playing Canada and the USA would have helped our program. But now things are just as they are."

Had Sweden beaten Finland, they would have been playing in the top group against Canada and the USA with a possible crack at the gold medal.

Now, the best the Swedes can do is bring home a bronze by winning the second group and playing the third-place finisher from the championship bracket, likely Finland.

"The (Swedish players are) disappointed because they really wanted to play in this arena before a sold-out house against the Canada team," Elander said.

'WON OUR GROUP'

Goalie Kim Martin suggested the Swedes may be better off in the second group anyway.

"I remember when we were in Halifax (2004 Worlds)," she recalled. "We won our group and we played both Canada and the USA. Afterwards, we played the bronze medal game (loss to Finland) and we were so tired. So maybe this way's better."

Sweden faces China tomorrow and Switzerland on Monday.

"We're going to win both games," forward Katarina Timglas vowed.


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