Babcock named coach of Team Canada

Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:10pm EDT
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"I was looking for someone who would encourage the team to play the way I foresee the Canadian team playing," said Yzerman, a Red Wing for 22 years who played for Babcock in his final season before retiring.


"I not only expect us to be a strong offensive team but that our best players are responsible defensively. That is how this team is going to play.

"We have a vision of how the Olympic team will play, the type of players we want, and I'm certain Mike is the right guy to take the reins."

The pressure is certain to build on Babcock until the opening ceremonies on February 12 next year.

Despite Canada's status as a hockey superpower, success has been rare on the Olympic stage.

At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, Canadians celebrated from coast-to-coast after the men's hockey team ended an embarrassing 50-year gold-medal drought.

Four years later in Turin the country was plunged into despair after posting its worst result at an Olympics with a seventh-place finish.

Such a display will be unacceptable in Vancouver where a pair of tickets to the gold-medal final are already being offered online for as much as $16,000.   Continued...

<p>Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock directs his players during team practice in preparation for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final hockey series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Detroit, Michigan June 11, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>