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AP source: Babcock will coach Canada in Olympics @NHL

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will coach the Canadian men's hockey team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Babcock will have Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock on his staff, according to the person who spoke Tuesday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because Team Canada plans to announce its coaching staff on Thursday in Montreal.

Canada won the gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, but struggled in Turin four years later.

Babcock's team will likely be led by Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who played a part in preventing him from winning consecutive Stanley Cups earlier this month.

Just as he did in professional hockey, Babcock has paid his dues internationally.

Babcock led Team Canada to gold at the 2004 world championships, going 7-1-1 and beating Sweden in the final. He helped the Canadians win gold at the 1997 world junior championships.

He recently completed his sixth season in charge of an NHL team and made his third appearance in the Stanley Cup finals. The Red Wings lost to the Penguins in Game 7 after hoisting the Cup in Pittsburgh last year. He also led Anaheim within one win of a championship six years ago during his first season as an NHL coach.

Babcock has won more games in the playoffs (58) and regular season (282) than any other NHL coach in his first six seasons.

Scotty Bowman, Glen Sather and Fred Shero and Babcock are the only coaches in the expansion era to coach in three or more Stanley Cup finals in their first six seasons.

Babcock's climb up the coaching ladder included jobs in the American Hockey League, the Western Hockey League and Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

Steve Yzerman, a Red Wings vice president, is Team Canada's executive director. The former Red Wing great played for Canada in the previous two Olympics. Yzerman, who learned Tuesday he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 9, has said about 40 players will try out for the team during the last week of August in Calgary.

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