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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Babcock: Toews earned alternate captain

By Chuck Pleiness
Special to ESPNChicago.com

DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Sidney Crosby wanted Jonathan Toews' approval before he was named captain of Team Canada.

Toews isn't fully sure that's how it went down.

"I don't think that's why it is," Toews said after the Blackhawks' morning skate at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday. "I'm sure he said that to be polite. I think everyone knows that Sidney was the guy. I'm just honored first of all to be in the conversation for captaincy or assistant captain."

Toews, who will be an alternate captain, played for Babcock at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"I never gave it to him," Babcock said when asked why he chose Toews to be an alternate captain. "He earned the right. He's won two Cups. He's won an Olympic Gold. He's won a World Juniors. I don't know what else he's won. He might have won more than that. He's a pro. He does it every day. He's a 200-footer.

"To me he's an impressive, impressive man. He's a guy, when we were talking about it, Sidney Crosby wanted to make sure it was OK with him because of the fact that he's won a couple Cups. He's held in high regard to say the least amongst coaches, amongst management, amongst players and he's a huge reason they win as much as they do."

Toews helped lead Canada to the gold medal and led the team with eight points.

"It means a lot (hearing those things), especially coming from a coach you've gone up against in the playoffs several times," Toews said. "It was an amazing seven-game series last year. I had the chance to play for him in the last Olympics so it means a lot and coming from a guy like Sidney as well.

"You just try and keep doing the things that make you successful and that helps you help the team be successful. If that pays off that's great, but I'm really excited to hear that."

Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010, becoming the second-youngest to win the award. He's also the youngest to join the Triple Gold Club -- Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, World Juniors gold.

"I've always said when I'm asked these questions that I'll be honored in whatever role I get," Toews said. "If it's more a leadership role then I'm excited for that challenge. It's a quick two weeks. Everyone focuses on their own game, but you need to find that team chemistry and that'll make a difference for us. I'll try and be a big part of that."

Shea Weber is the other alternate captain.

"(Crosby) asking the other guys for their approval, I don't think he needed to do that," Toews said. "But that shows what kind of guy he is and he's a great captain in Pittsburgh."

Wednesday's lineup: Here's the Blackhawks' line combinations against the Wings.

Forwards

Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa

Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell-Michal Handzus-Kris Versteeg

Brandon Bollig-Marcus Kruger-Ben Smith

Defense

Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy-Michael Kostka

Goalie

Corey Crawford (starting)

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Michal Rozsival, Sheldon Brookbank

Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (rotator-cuff surgery)