Red Wings coach Babcock: It's a critical time for our team

Mike Babcock returns from Sochi after coaching another gold medal-winning Team Canada

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DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is fresh off coaching another Team Canada to Olympic gold.

The Canadians took gold in Sochi when they defeated Sweden, 3-0, in the final game on Sunday. Several Red Wings players were part of the game, but on the losing end of it. Only their coach and general manager, Ken Holland, were on the winning side.

Now, coach Babcock is back in Detroit and ready to return to NHL action as the Red Wings visit the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. They practiced at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday and afterward the coach spoke with reporters.

Watch: Interview: Mike Babcock returns from Sochi

He said he hasn't talked to the Swedes about the gold medal game yet, but he will address it on Wednesday.

"I haven't said nothing yet. We'll have a team meeting when we get to Montreal," he said.

Preview: Red Wings visit Canadiens

Meanwhile, Babcock has been dealing with an injury-riddled Red Wings squad all season, but that won't stop him from expecting big things from the team.

"Obviously we want to get rolling here out of the gate. I'm under the assumption that guys looked after themselves during the break," he said. "Pavel (Datsyuk) skated today. Mule (Johan Franzen) skated today. (Stephen) Weiss skated but he's unavailable."

He said he would be making lineup decisions on Wednesday and both goaltenders look to be available.

Datsyuk had been out of action before the Olympics with a lower body injury. Babcock said he looked fine during Tuesday's practice. He said Franzen, who was suffering from concussion symptoms and had to pull himself off Team Sweden, has been cleared to play.

"I don't know if he'll play tomorrow," said the coach.

The Red Wings received more bad injury news just last week when captain Henrik Zetterberg left Olympic play with a herniated disc in his back. He had to undergo surgery and likely will miss 8 weeks.

"You can't replace these kind of players, I mean, injuries are part of the game," said Babcock. "We've been dealing with it all year and there's nothing you can do."

The Red Wings are sitting in the 2nd wild card spot (8th place) in the Eastern Conference with three teams just 1 point behind them.

"It's a critical time for our team and we gotta find a way to get in," he said.

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