Lost in the glory of gold medal victory for Canada Men’s hockey team was much credit for coach Mike Babcock.
Despite taking criticism from fans and media alike, he stuck to his methods and Canada were the beneficiaries come Sunday.
Babcock’s roster selection was vilified. No Martin St. Louis and Kunitz selected ahead of Giroux.
Various other names including Joe Thornton were also thrown around as players that SHOULD have made the final roster.
With Stamkos ruled out through injury and St. Louis in, this still didn’t appease those who felt Babcock was going about things the wrong way.
Into the Olympics games we went and those critics became louder in voicing their objections about Babcock, as the team’s style of play didn’t look as aesthetically pleasing as say the United States.
Workmanlike victories against the Czech Republic and Finland, with a easy victory against Austria in-between, did nothing to convince those doubters that Canada were capable of winning Gold.
That allied with the scratching of Subban and the calls for Luongo to start, left many focussing on the players and style, rather than what the team were actually able to achieve.
As hockey fans know, the best form of defense is offense, and that comes with controlling possession of the puck as much as you possibly can.
Canada did this impressively and the stats bore this out as they out-shot their opponents 241-129 in six games.
As Babcock alluded to in his final presser, the game plan was set in Augusts’ Olympic camp and never once did they step away from the message.
Averaging almost three goals per game whilst just allowing three again in the whole tournament, you cannot doubt the domination of this team, who then went on to blank the USA and Sweden in the medal rounds.
“When you talk about great defense sometimes we get confused,” Babcock said. “Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all the time so you’re always on offense. Don’t get confused, we out chanced these teams big-time; we didn’t score. We were a great offensive team. That’s how we coached. That’s what we expected. That’s what we got. We didn’t ask guys to back up.
“The interesting thing for me when I look at this whole scenario is does anybody know who won the scoring race? Does anybody care? Does anybody know who won the gold medal? See ya.”
Those two quotes sum up Babcock’s personal performance as coach at these Olympics.
Focussed, driven and sticking to a plan he knew he could implement and win Gold with this group of players.
Canada may have had the best roster but as Russia showed detrimentally and Finland in winning a Bronze, you always need a good system and a set of players buying into that as one, to have success.