Habscheid calls players 'winners'

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Team Canada coach Marc Habscheid knows what every Canadian fan knows. To this point in the world hockey championship, the team's performances have been less than stellar.

But Habscheid is convinced that now, with survival on the line, the Canadians will come to the fore.

"I've been fortunate enough to be around these guys since the middle of April," he said. "The thing I've learned about these guys is that they're all winners. They play to win. They play for the passion of the game. They love to play for their country."

So when Canada faces Slovakia today in an elimination-game quarter-final, Habscheid expects an intensity that has not yet been evident.

"These guys will play with the passion and desire that all Canadians fans are used to seeing," Habscheid said. "That will be a constant factor.

"We're playing against a very good team. We know that. They're a well rounded team. Their defencemen join the rush well and their forwards will look for them."

But the Canadians will know what to look for and will pursue their duties with fervour.

"Their passion increases in an elimination game," Habscheid said. "There is no room for error and these guys know that. I think if you look at each individual player, you'll see that's why they are great players. They're winners. That's why they're picked for the team.

"They're money players. They love being in this situation where it's a seventh game, whether it be in the Stanley Cup or the seventh game of the first round."


Photos