Mike Babcock is set to be named head coach of Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
This may come as a surprise given how the Maple Leafs are faring in the NHL right now, but looking back at his IIHF experience and it makes perfect sense.
Mike Babcock first coached Team Canada at the 1997 World Jr Championships when he was coach of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, winning gold over the United States. In 2004 he was named head coach of Team Canada at the World Championships after original head coach Joel Quenneville became ill and stepped down. Canada won gold at the tournament and Babcock became the first coach to win gold at both the IIHF World Jr's and World Championships.
Named head coach of the 2010 Olympic team, Mike Babcock would give Canada it's first home ice Hockey gold medal at the Olympics and be behind the bench for one of the most watch teams in Canadian history. He was brought back in 2014 and won gold again at Olympics.
He has a stellar track record with Team Canada, though how hard could it be to not have one? There was some grumbling about the lack of playing time PK Subban had at Sochi, but it all turned out ok in the end! (do not look at the round robin scores)
His assistants are interesting, we have multiple recent Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville with him as well as Claude Julien, whose name is brought up every once in a while as being on the hot seat.
In the end it's the roster decisions that will make or break this team. Anaheim GM Bob Murray is scouting around the NHL right now. Roster decisions are limited to those older than 23, as there will be a North American 23 and under team competing in this tournament as well.
Hopefully this news doesn't distract Mike from the important task of coming back from a rough start this season.