Mike Babcock met the media Saturday night in a press conference setting at Canada Hockey Place. He talked about a myriad of things, and here are some snippets of what he said and why he said them.
Why choose to put Mike Richards on the top line with Rick Nash and Sidney Crosby?
"We wanted to get Nash back on right wing where he seems to me the most comfortable, and have Jarome (Iginla) play with (Brenden) Morrow and (Jonathan) Toews in a more physical situation,'' Babcock said. ''That's kind of our plan. Richards is a bit of a give-and-go player. He's had a lot of success with that, so he could be a good player with Crosby and the big guy (Nash) going to the net."
Any thoughts on bragging rights being a major part of this game, coach?
"It's only bragging rights for a couple of days anyway," Babcock said. "We want to be successful and they want to be successful. Obviously the path to where we both want to go is a lot easier if you win (Sunday)."
Do you agree that your players were a bit too passive against Switzerland on Thursday?
"There is no question about that," Babcock said. "We got up 2-0 against the Swiss and stopped shooting the puck. In saying that, we had many, many quality scoring opportunities."
What do you think of your defense so far?
"I think we have seven guys that are real good players," Babcock said. "I think the steadiest guy may have been (Shea) Weber and I think (Drew) Doughty and (Duncan) Keith really picked up their games last game because they relaxed more and started playing and skating. It appears to me that the guys that can really skate have been the best."
Will you still use seven on Sunday against the Americans, or will you cut it down to six?
"We're going to start out with seven and yet basically we moved Doughty with Keith to start so we'll see how it goes," Babcock said. "We think (Brent) Seabrook is a real good player and we're not scared to use any of them on the back.
"It's interesting, we spend a lot of time in North America here talking about this player and how much ice time, well I just watched the Swedes and they roll out four across and just go. It doesn't matter how much ice a guy gets. We overthink sometimes."
This game is big, but how big?
"It's not as big as the gold medal game, let's not get carried away, but what you're saying right now is it's as big a game that we have played in the tournament, and the one you are playing always is," Babcock said. "We're all cognizant of that fact. We know what is at stake. We want to play well and we want to keep getting better. The main thing in this tournament is to keep getting better, and if you win your games you go home happy."
With two days between games, did you see any other events and enjoy the Olympics?
"Not that much to other events, but the coaching staff met in the morning (Friday), got our work done and basically had the day. We took turns watching some games, but I was real fortunate to get out in Vancouver and see a lot of people and talk to excited fans," Babcock said. "I have met lots of people and the village has been fantastic. I think enjoying this experience is very, very important and I tried to do that with my family yesterday. I did the whole thing and enjoyed it very much. I'm really enjoying living in the village. Whether it's the police officers from all over the country, different athletes and different coaches, it's been fantastic. The people are real friendly; the fans are fired up and proud to be Canadian." Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer