Clement Jodoin didn't mince his words.
"The feeling is not negative. For sure we are disappointed by what happened but it is probably the best thing that has happened to us to date," Canada's assistant coach said on Sunday, less than 24 hours after a 4-3 loss to Sweden at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"I see this not as negative but as a positive."
The Canadians were ahead 2-0 and were less than 20 minutes away from extending their 20-game World Junior winning streak before the Swedes rallied and won the game off a turnover in the game’s dying seconds.
The Canadian coaching staff spent the night studying the videotape of the game and it didn't take much to realize what happened.
"In a tournament like this, there is so much talent that we can't afford to give them too much room and that's what happened yesterday. We gave them too much space and they capitalized on the scoring chances," said Jodoin.
"Everybody has to be on the same page for 60 minutes. We had an outstanding first period and were a little down in the second and after that we gambled a little too much going into the third."
The Canadians went back to work on Sunday to begin preparations for Monday's game against Denmark.
Sweden is in first place in Group A with nine points, while Canada and the Czech Republic are tied with six apiece.
Sweden plays the Czech Republic on Monday, creating the possibility of a three-way tie atop the standings. The tie would be broken by goal differential in games involving the three teams, meaning a win by the Czech Republic – by less than five goals – would give Canada top spot.
The first-place finisher in each group gets a bye into the semi-finals, while the second-place and third-place teams in each group cross over to meet in the quarterfinals. The gold medal game is set for January 5th in Pardubice.
Jodoin says the Canadians know they have to rely on the Czechs for an easier road to gold.
"In life, you do not like to rely on somebody else. We have to count on somebody else to give us the bye and that is not the right way," he said. "It is getting in by the back door and I would rather go through the front door."
The Danes haven't won a game and the easiest thing would be for the Canadians to take them lightly.
But Jodoin says the players have been reminded to maintain their focus and not look past Monday's game.
"That has been addressed right away. We are going to bounce back. We will be ready. We can't afford to play for 20 minutes. We have to play for 60 minutes.
"We have to come back and it does not matter if it is Denmark. We still have to respect the other team and we have to come back hard."
The lessons learned in the loss to Sweden bode well for Canada’s National Junior Team.
"We have not been playing our best hockey. We can still improve some aspects of our game," said Jodoin. "But it is better to lose that game rather than one in the medal round.
"We learned a valuable lesson."
Steve Mason will get the call between the pipes for the Canadians. He has made one appearance thus far, stopping all 22 shots he faced in a 2-0 win over Slovakia on December 27th.
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