Babcock to coach Team Canada at Sochi 2014

Team Canada's head coach Mike Babcock instructs players during the 2009 Olympic hockey orientation camp in Calgary (CP/Jeff McIntosh)

Canada’s coaching staff for the men’s hockey team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi will look very familiar.

Detroit Red Wings’ bench boss Mike Babcock has been named Canada’s head coach for the second consecutive Olympics, while the St. Louis Blues’ Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien will assist him, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

The only difference between this group and the one that won gold on home soil in Vancouver in 2010 is that former Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger will have a role with the staff.

The deal between the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association and International Ice Hockey Federation that confirms NHL participation in the 2014 Games was finally agreed upon on July 19.

Its ratification also led to the NHL being able to release its official schedule, due to the league’s need to factor in whether or not its players would be involved in the Olympics.

Canada is slated to open the Games on Feb. 13, 2014 when it takes on Norway, followed by a matchup with Austria the next day. Babcock’s group will complete the round robin on Feb. 16 with what looks to be a crucial battle against Finland.

The biggest question mark for Canada’s otherwise talent-laden roster is goaltending, as there is not one obvious choice heading into the 2013-14 season.

One notable omission from the list is Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was Canada’s third-string option in 2010.

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