INNSBRUCK, Austria -- To win, first Canada must lose.
That's the opinion of Mike Babcock, the coach who led Team Canada to a second straight gold medal at the world hockey championships last year.
"I was scouting in Vienna and when I heard Canada lost to Sweden, I told my wife, 'Now they'll win the gold medal.' "
It's Babcock's opinion that no matter how many players have been here before, the Canadians have to be reminded once or twice on the scoreboard that this is a tough tournament where you can't win unless you bring your 'A' game.
Canada definitely was reminded of that on the weekend in losing to Sweden and battling to a tie the next day against Finland.
Team Canada had originally planned not to practice here yesterday, to make it a team picture day and leave it at that.
But coach Marc Habsheid and staff woke up the next morning and decided there was work to be done and held a short, instructional session.
"We wanted to clean up some things on defence and straighten out some holes so we make fewer turnovers and better decisions," said the coach who takes his team into the final qualifying-round game (TSN, 8 a.m. MDT) today.
"We need to give up less shots and less chances."
Habscheid said Martin Brodeur, who sat out the Finland game, will be back in goal for Canada when they play the Ukraine today.
The Ukrainians managed a 1-1 tie here yesterday against the U.S.
Brodeur says the Canadians have to use the game so they go into Thursday's quarter-final here ready to play their best.
"This is about getting ready for that next game more than anything. Everybody on this team knows how it works. We're serious about our commitment. We're not just here to have fun."
He says it's all about being ready.
"When there is a chance you can be out of the tournament, that's when you have to have everything going."