Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 02/15/14 at 06:55 AM ET
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock engaged in a fine jousting effort with the Canadian scribes trying to divine Babcock's lineup plans ahead of tomorrow's game against Finland (12 PM EST, CBC/USA Network), as the Winnipeg Free Press's Gary Lawless noted:
On what lineup changes he’ll make:
"I’ve got lots of plans, but the day is young. I haven’t been to curling yet. I haven’t been to the Russian game. We’ll see what happens. To me, we want to have the best team so the stats on any one player don’t matter to me and I don’t think they matter that much to the players. If you ask me enough questions and we stay here until nine o’clock you might get something from me. We’re talking about lineup tomorrow."
Sidney Crosby’s line has failed to score so far in the tournament:: "The first line in the last two games has generated a ton of scoring chances, point-blankers, they haven’t gone in. Do we worry that much about that or do we just know good players score in the end? Lots of times in the Stanley Cup playoffs your team goes a ways and your best players have no points in the first round. Someone else picks them up, but by the time it’s all over they’re leading the thing in scoring. It’s not about that, it’s about finding a way to be the best team."
Will he shorten the bench against Finland: "I’m not cutting the bench at all. Last Olympics I didn’t do it. I’ve purposefully not looked at that sheet that they give [media] so [they] can evaluate. I looked at it last time at the Olympics [and] it affected me because I felt like ‘Oh, this guy should play more.’ It said on the sheet after the game – I only know this because management told me – that evidently Carter played eight minutes in the game and had three goals. I don’t buy he played eight minutes. Are the times even right? So for me to worry about that makes no sense."
Has he paid attention to all of the media and scrutinizing of his team: "In 1997 I was coaching Canada at the world juniors and I was a young coach just getting started in my career. I didn’t know how bad I was getting beat up back in Canada as a coach and I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it. Now I’d be ready to handle it but I don’t look and I don’t care."
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