Skip to content

Star-studded Canada will be ‘a work in progress,’ says Babcock

Feb 13, 2014, 4:46 AM EDT

Canada's head coach Babcock directs his team during their men's team ice hockey practice at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Reuters

SOCHI, Russia — The starting goalie will be Carey Price, backed up by Roberto Luongo. The healthy scratches will be P.K. Subban and Matt Duchene. Now that the line-up decisions have been made, Team Canada can begin its quest to repeat as Olympic gold medalists.

Just don’t expect magic right off the bat tonight, even against tournament minnow Norway, or tomorrow versus the long shots from Austria.

“We’re just gonna be a work in progress,” head coach Mike Babcock said Friday after practice.

Babcock was asked how much of the structure of Team Canada will mirror that of his Detroit Red Wings.

“Lots of it is what we do in the NHL,” he said, “then maybe a few tweaks because of the size of the rink, neutral zone-wise, penalty kill-wise, even power play.

“No one talks about how short the end zone is. It’s a big difference. There’s lots of things that are a little bit different. We’ll find out as we go.”

On an Olympic-sized rink, the distance from the blue line to the goal line is six feet shorter than on an NHL rink. Olympic rinks are also wider and have longer neutral zones, with more space behind the net.

“Obviously it’s an adjustment going from the NHL-sized ice to the Olympic-sized ice,” defenseman Duncan Keith. “The more we play on it, the more comfortable we’re going to get.”

How much chemistry has the team been able to build in limited practice time?

“It’s coming along,” Keith said. “Obviously it’s not where it would be if we were together for six months. But there’s so much skill on the team that hopefully we can gel quickly, and keep getting better.”

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    BryanTrottier Getty Images

    Hall of Famer will work as an assistant under Ted Nolan.

  2. Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Low-risk signing, with good potential upside.

  3. Now the Blues’ starting goalie, Elliott is working extra hard this summer

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Mike Richards, Brian Elliott AP

    “When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.”

  4. Wild, Fontaine avoid arbitration — two years, $2 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Six Getty Images

    Had 13 goals and eight assists in 2013-14, his rookie season in the NHL.

  5. Abdelkader suspended for first three games of 2015 Worlds for high hit on Sobotka

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Justin Abdelkader, Reto Berra AP

    IIHF Disciplinary Board levies punishment for “very forceful check.”

  6. Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

    BarryTrotz Getty Images

    New Caps coach wants “people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice.”

  7. Panthers avoid arbitration with Hayes, who gets one-year deal

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    Totonto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    Had 11 goals and seven assists in 53 games last season.

  8. Jets, Frolik agree on one-year deal worth $3.3 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Can become an unrestricted free agent next summer now.

  9. Feaster: Just a matter of time until Tortorella returns

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    They won the Stanley Cup together in Tampa Bay.

  10. Analytics just piece of puzzle to Leafs’ Dubas

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT

    Dubas

    He was recently hired by the team to serve as an assistant general manager.

  11. Bruins prospect Warsofsky aims to force his way into NHL

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

    David Warsofsky Getty Images

    That won’t be easy given the Bruins’ current logjam.

  12. ‘Hawks prospect Shalunov signs two-year KHL deal

    Jul 28, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    Maxim Shalunov AP

    He attempted to make the transition to North America in 2013-14.

  13. Sharks start extension talks with Braun

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Justin Braun Getty Images

    The two sides are unlikely to agree to terms quickly though.

  14. Blake, Robitaille highlight Kings alumni for game vs. Russian Stars

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

    2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final – Game Six Getty Images

    Yashin and Bure are among the players that will compete against Los Angeles.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches