Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Coaches Take Contrasting Styles Into World Cup of Hockey Finals
TORONTO - Mike Babcock, coach of the Canadian team at the World Cup of Hockey Jersey, runs a tight ship. He knows where he is going and how to get there.
Coach Ralph Krueger Team Europe, on the other hand, is free to the bar for course corrections.
Babcock is cold technician. Krueger is the calming force.
"Ralph Ralph should be, and I should be me," said Babcock, who is also the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Passionate and intelligent, Babcock, 53, and Krueger, 57, found success through their contrasting styles. Some of these differences will play in the best-of-three finals of the World Cup, which began Tuesday with Canada defeating Europe, 3-1.
Canadians have watched their scrappy 4-1 win outsiders of Europe during the preliminaries.
"We are very angry right now, which is a good thing," said Krueger after the game. "A little bit too much risk at the wrong time. What we can get out of it is a lot of courage."
He added, referring to Canada goaltender Carey Price: "We could have tested the price much. Again, the effort was there. We made it a game. "
Canada got goals from Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Steven Stamkos. Tomas Tatar scored for Europe.
"It was not our best," Stamkos said. "I think we realize that. But at this point in the tournament, a victory is a victory. It is therefore a good thing. But I thought in the third period, we played better, with a purpose."
Europe has taken the game to Canadians in the first minute power play, but Canada got a pause of 2 minutes 33 seconds when Marchand jumped out of the penalty area and broke the ice, Bergeron behind. Marchand took a goal mouth charge Bergeron, teammate Boston Bruins, and lifted a shot in Europe goaltender Jaroslav Halak. It was the first shot of Team Canada Hockey Jersey on goal.
Stamkos scored his first goal of the tournament with a cross pass from Ryan Getzlaf later in the period. Tatar, the hero in overtime against Sweden in the semifinals Sunday beat the price on a rebound in the second period for his third goal of the tournament.
Later in the period, Getzlaf stripped the puck from Europe defenseman Zdeno Chara at center ice, peeled again in the Europe zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Stamkos, who redirected the puck past Halak for his first goal of the tournament.
"We learned in the foot and gave them some freebies," said Anze Kopitar in Europe. "True, he is disappointed at the moment, but at the same time, this could be probably our best game so far in the tournament. We can not hang our heads. There is no time for that. We will return here tomorrow, regroup and get ready for Thursday. "
Europeans were without Slovak scorer Marian Gaborik, who has a foot injury and had shared the main purpose of Team Europe with two reach the final.
Gaborik returned to the Los Angeles Kings, who expect it to be out of action for eight weeks. Mikkel Bødker has taken the place of Gaborik in range.
Few expect Europe to beat a power like Canada, but throughout the tournament, Krueger was a picture of calm, explaining how his players were upsetting the odds.
Before the semifinal victory Sunday, Krueger was in the locker room watching Southampton, the English football team of which he is president, beat West Ham 3-0.
In 2013, after Krueger was fired as coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Babcock - Krueger's friend since 2004 - was invited to work as a consultant with Team Canada at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
Krueger agreed, and his wife laughed. It had been only 12 hours since his dismissal, and he was taking another job, without even thinking.
"My instinct took me there," Krueger said. "It's the way life is. If you take things positively, it seems that the opportunity will come faster. I think if I complained for 12 hours to all media in Canada, Mike might not have picked up the phone. "
With Babcock, the players need thick skins.
"He tells it like it is, and ultimately, that's what everyone wants to know where they stand," Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong said. "Nobody wants mind games, and he does not play mind games; It's certain."
Price Babcock called "black and white".
When Canada has fallen behind against Russia in the semifinals, Babcock has not changed course.
His message to the players was to "keep steady on the rudder" and use the Russians.
They did it with a victory 5-3.
Krueger, however, is not afraid to throw together the style of his team after Europe was dominated, 9-1, through four periods of action against the team exhibition games in North America.
"We came and tried to play a European kind of hockey," forward Frans Nielsen said. "We turned the puck over. You do not have the room on the smaller ice. The pace is faster. everyone could see it was not working. "
Krueger turned his team into a patient, the defensive team that has stifled opponents scoring opportunities while grabbing his own rare chances.
This approach means that Europe would have dominated in most games, but the overhaul was approved 2-1 record team in group play - with a 3-0 victory against the United States - and victory in the semifinals against Sweden.
Krueger was a perfectionist mixed team of eight small countries. Slowly, over the meal of the team and postpractice play football, they related, never worry about losing.
"He's so positive every day," said Nielsen. "No matter what happens; he tries to see in a positive way. "
"There's just no-nonsense about it," said Armstrong. "It is not negotiable."
When Babcock must stand before a star player like Claude Giroux or guardian Braden Holtby, he does it in a direct way.
"He does not beat around the bush and that other people tell them that information," said Armstrong. "He called these guys and told them". This is how I understand your role Things could change. "And he's very forward about it Good coaches can deliver bad news and do not worry about it. ".
After this tournament, win or lose, this European team will cease to exist.
This is a team with no past or future, who works in his favor because the players do not feel the weight of the hopes of a country. Krueger understands.
"I learned that he lives for the moment," said defenseman Andrej Sekera. "And that's the approach he wants for us."
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