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Babcock to coach Canada's Olympians

by Bill Roose
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was named coach of Canada's Olympic men's hockey team today in Montreal, where the NHL has congregated for the Entry Draft, which is Friday and Saturday.

Babcock, 46, had been the leading candidate since October when Red Wings vice president Steve Yzerman was named Team Canada's executive director.

It was also announced Thursday that Babcock will be joined by a trio of assistants that possess 47 years of NHL coaching experience: Jacques Lemaire, Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock.

"With Canada's great passion for hockey, we are lucky to be able to count on a long list of quality Canadian coaches, which gave the management group many great options," Yzerman said. "As a group, we are very pleased with the coaching staff that we have announced today, a group with extensive international and professional experience and success. We look forward to the challenge ahead and are proud to represent Canada in Vancouver in February."

In four seasons with the Red Wings, Babcock has compiled a 213-77-38 record -- that's a .707 winning percentage -- and led the team to the 2008 Stanley Cup and to Game 7 of the '09 Cup finals. He is the first head coach in NHL history with four consecutive 50-win seasons since Scotty Bowman (Montreal, 1975/76 – 1978/79), also making Babcock the first coach in NHL history to win four consecutive 50-win seasons in each of his first four years with a team.

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