CALGARY, FEB. 22 -- In the wake of the elimination of the U.S. Olympic hockey team from medal contention Sunday night, the executive director of the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association said today that significant changes in player personnel and scheduling must be made in the future "for us to have a chance at a medal."

"I've been taking a lot of notes this week, and I know the opposition better than anybody," said Bob Johnson, former head coach of the Calgary Flames, the morning after the United States lost to West Germany, 4-1. "And from what I've seen, the opposition was pretty darned good.

"It looked to me like the best players on a lot of teams were National {Hockey} Leaguers. The three best players on Finland are National Leaguers. Canada has a couple of veteran NHL guys, and the guy in goal for the Germans {Karl Friesen} played for New Jersey. What does that tell you?"

It tells Johnson that "next time, we need some veteran defensemen and goaltenders out there, guys with maturity, with a physical presence who know how to get a lead and keep a lead. These were all veteran teams we were playing. We've got to do something to get some of those kind of people on our side."

Going into the 1988 Olympics, the NHL was reluctant to allow players to miss the first half of the regular season to play for the Olympic team full time. And U.S. Olympic officials did not want to bring in professionals just for the Games, a system Canada has used with several players this year.

"This is certainly something the NHL ought to look into," said Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goaltender who has been a commentator here for ABC. "The NHL is always bemoaning the fact that they can't attract a large audience to show people how exciting hockey is.

"The Olympics generate an audience just by virtue of being the Olympics. They should welcome the opportunity to showcase their players."

Johnson does not want a complete NHL all-star team representing the United States, just a little help. "We've got to get together with {the NHL}," Johnson said. "Maybe we can find a way to get corporate sponsorship that will pay a guy's salary while he's with us. That's something we have to look into. The rules are there now for pros to play, we should take advantage of it." Johnson emphasized, however, that he believes the U.S. team will have to be made up predominantly of college players. "The NHL wouldn't let us have the pros with the Games in North America," Johnson said. "You think they'll let us have them for Albertville {France, in 1992}?"

Johnson also said that, in hindsight, the U.S. team's exhibition schedule to prepare for the Olympics might have been too soft. The team played some games against NHL teams in the preseason, but mostly faced college teams. "I thought the schedule was the best available," he said. "We found out now it wasn't tough enough. They had too many blowouts; it really hurt. They improved their offensive skills instead of their defensive skills. They never had to protect a lead. You saw what happened against Czechoslovakia. But we're also talking about putting a lot of young kids out there -- hell, Brian Leetch is only 19, so is Greg Brown -- against mature veteran teams. That may have been too much pressure on them."

Johnson, who coached the 1976 Olympic team and built Wisconsin into a collegiate power in the 1970s, also will be looking for a new national coach. Dave Peterson said Sunday night that after the Games "I'll be retired; I'm going back to Minneapolis and do what I want to do."

Johnson said he had no desire to get back to coaching -- "my guns are in the holster" -- and that he probably will look among the college coaching ranks for a new man. He mentioned five possible candidates: Tim Taylor of Yale, Doug Woog of Minnesota, Mike Sertich of Minnesota-Duluth, Jeff Sauer of Wisconsin and Shawn Walsh of Maine, and indicated he was in no hurry to make a decision.

In New York, the New York Rangers announced Leetch agreed to contract terms today. Last summer, he turned down an offer reported at $1 million over four years so he could play on the Olympic team. Terms of this agreement weren't disclosed. Leetch will join the Rangers after Thursday's consolation game.

Sweden 2, Canada 2:

World champion Sweden rallied to tie Canada, giving Finland the Pool A title as the three teams head into the medal round.

Canada (3-1-1) takes only one point -- earned in this tie -- into the medal round while Finland takes in three (only points won in games against other medal-round participants count) by virtue of its win over Canada and tie with Sweden (2-0-3, two points). The Soviet Union, the Pool B champion, takes four points in.

Finland 5, Poland 1:

Finland (3-1-1) got two goals from former NHL defenseman Reijo Ruotsalainen to become the sixth and final competitor in the medal round.

Switzerland 9, France 0:

Switzerland, which plays the United States in Thursday's seventh-place game, improved to 3-2. The French can finish 11th in the 12 team tournament by beating Norway Tuesday.