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Five questions for Team Canada’s coach Mike Babcock

Canada's head coach Mike Babcock makes his way to practice at the Sochi Winter Olympics Thursday February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Five questions for Mike Babcock, Canada's men's Olympic hockey coach, heading into Sunday's final against Sweden:

1. On how the coaching staff convinced the star players to buy into a defence-first style of hockey:

"They want to win. It's real simple. Sometimes I think we get a little bit confused. It's not about who scores the goals or who blocks the shots or who plays. It's about winning. It's about Canada. It's about hockey supremacy. We like to brag that it's our game? If you think it's your game, you better show it's your game."

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2. Is there more pressure on Canada because they are defending Olympic champions:

"I think pressure is what you put on yourself. We're here with an opportunity. Pressure simply means you have a chance. If you didn't have a chance, there would be no pressure on you whatsoever. I'll take the pressure all day long. It's exciting. We have an opportunity to do something really special. And so do the Swedes, it should be fun."

3. Where was Babcock in '94, when Canada lost the gold medal to Sweden in a shootout:

"Oh yeah I watched it. Where was I in '94? I was in Spokane or Lethbridge, I can't remember. Tom Renney was the coach, wasn't he? Tom and I talk about that a lot. They have the stamp don't they over that thing? It's interesting. Tom Renney is a good friend of mine and coaches with me in Detroit. He coached in the days they had amateurs and did a heck of a job. He got right to this spot and I know he'll be enjoying watching us compete."

4. How have the new player faces in the line-up helped replace some of the veterans who are not back from 2010:

"We don't have (Scott) Niedermayer, Iggy (Jarome Iginla) and (Chris) Pronger this time around. I thought they really helped us last time around with great leadership. Things change. That's all part of it. You have to have young players coming all the time and Benn's been excellent."

5. How do you assess the Swedes:

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"I think they're really dangerous. They're in the gold-medal game. I assume the way it works is the best teams advance. So they're a really good team. To me, they've been really organized, they play with no ego. It's all about team. They're going to be hard."

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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