Bring on Sweden

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

HALIFAX -- They'd checked out of their hotel and had a charter plane waiting at the airport. If Team Canada had lost here yesterday there'd have been a lot of homeless hockey players in Halifax last night.

But they won and flew to Quebec City after the game to get ready for tomorrow's semifinal against Sweden, the same team they defeated 4-1 in the semi last year in Moscow enroute to winning the gold medal.

"I don't think there's a better city to play this tournament than Halifax but that said, we're excited to move on," said Rick Nash of winning a second straight gold and the fourth of the decade.

"Sweden is going to be something new to us," said goaltender Cam Ward, who will give way to Pascal Leclaire but will likely be back in goal for the gold medal game should the Canadians advance against the winner of the other semifinal match between Finland and Russia.

"It's going to be something new for us because they've been playing in Quebec and we're kind of unfamiliar with how they play. But we have a great coaching staff who'll prepare us well, I'm sure. And we played two pre-tournament games there to know what to expect with the rink and the atmosphere," he said of the scene in Les Colisee Pepsi.

"We've had a lot of fun in Halifax but we're excited to move on and play new opponents," added Ward.

"All we've seen them play is the game we saw them play today," said coach Ken Hitchcock of the game from Quebec City played prior to Canada's 8-2 win over Norway.

"It seems they send the exact same type of team every year," said Hitchcock. "They're very quick and very disciplined. And they have one of the best goalies in the world," he said of Henrik Lundqvist who backstopped Sweden to a 3-2 overtime win over the Czech Republic yesterday on an overtime goal by Mattias Weinhandl.

As Team Canada headed to the airport to Quebec City here, they left behind a Norwegian team which will be flying home after playing the first semifinal game at the world championships in their history.

"I think we can hold our heads up high," said captain Tommy Jakobsen. "We had a good tournament. The difference between high quality and Norwegians is when we make a mistake it's always a goal and that's what happened after the halfway mark on the game," he said.

"It's OK to lose to Canada with a great team like they have here this year," said coach Roy Jahansen.

"We were into the game pretty long," said Lars Erik Spets of having held Canada to a 2-2 tie halfway through the game.

"They are so good. You can't take penalties against them or they'll score goals," he added.

Pal Grotnes, who became known as The Carpenter for his profession away from hockey, said it wouldn't take long for his team to forget what was on the scoreboard.

"Now it's the summer vacation," he said. "We have earned it. We lose but it's a win for Norway. It was a great experience to play Canada here before a Canadian crowd in the quarter-final of the world championship. I think the people back in Norway are pleased with us. Hopefully it will mean more money for the game from the Olympic committee. It should be mostly positive things. Eighth place. That's pretty good."

Veteran Anders Myrvold, a veteran of 33 NHL games with a total of four different teams, said they know what they accomplished in Halifax.

"I think we put Norway on the hockey map. We're a small nation. We're pretty proud of what we accomplished."


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