Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mike Babcock Drops in on Canadian Team at IIHF World Hockey Championship: Babcock Keeping an Eye on Canada at Worlds

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mike Babcock Drops in on Canadian Team at IIHF World Hockey Championship: Babcock Keeping an Eye on Canada at Worlds

Article excerpt

HELSINKI - One face stood out among the crowd.

As the Canadian team was put through its paces deep in the underground practice rink at Hartwall Arena on Sunday afternoon, Mike Babcock carefully charted everything happening on the ice. With his Detroit Red Wings making an early exit from the NHL playoffs, Babcock decided to travel to the IIHF World Hockey Championship to keep tabs on the Canadian team.

It raised the obvious question: Is he in line to reprise his role as Olympic coach in 2014?

"I wouldn't read too much into that," said Babcock.

He's already publicly stated an interest in the job, telling The Canadian Press in a March interview that he would "relish the opportunity" to try and add another Olympic gold to the one he won in Vancouver.

The Sochi Games are on the minds of many at this world championship. Not only will the groups for that tournament be set once this one wraps up, but players are looking to make a strong impression on the many influential onlookers taking it in -- such as Babcock and Kevin Lowe, the Canadian general manager.

"That's a big reason why a lot of us are here," said forward Jordan Eberle. "You want to get that opportunity to play and you know this is a showcase. A big part of this tournament is for (Olympic) placings.

"You want to give yourself the best opportunity to win a gold medal (in Sochi) and it all starts with winning a gold medal here."

There is still a long road to travel before that happens.

The Canadian team seemed to be in good spirits a day after losing 5-4 in overtime to the United States in its second round robin game. Coach Brent Sutter shook up his forward lines at practice and spent a fair amount of time discussing systems at the whiteboard.

He also planned to make a change in goal for Monday's game against France by starting Devan Dubnyk.

Sutter was able to see the positive side of an early loss that shouldn't be too costly in the grand scheme of things, especially if Canada recovers and gets stronger as he expects.

"Teams that have success usually have to deal with some adversity along the way," said Sutter.

More adversity arrived on Sunday when it was determined Marc-Edouard Vlasic was done for the tournament because of a right leg injury suffered against the U. …

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