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OTTAWA, February 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Reigning Olympic ice hockey champions Canada held its first training session in Russia’s Sochi with head coach Mike Babcock defining offensive and defensive lineups for the upcoming matches.
The 25-strong Canadian squad, led by Captain Sidney Crosby from Pittsburgh Penguins, consists solely of NHL players with their aggregate annual salary of $160 million. The team boasts seven NHL captains and 11 Stanley Cup champions.
"We thought if we got some exercise at this time of night we had a better chance of staying up 'til midnight," Canada’s TSN sports website quoted Babcock as saying.
During the training session Babcock, who led the team to the Olympic gold at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, formed four offensive trios, which were: Chris Kunitz/Sidney Crosby/Jeff Carter, Patrick Sharp/Jonathan Toews/Rick Nash, Patrick Marleau/Ryan Getzlaf/Corey Perry and Jamie Benn/John Tavares/Patrice Bergeron.
According to the training session, the defense lineup Babcock divided in the following pairs: Duncan Keith/Shea Webber, Jay Bouwmeester/ Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Edouard Vlasic/ Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis/P.K. Subban.
However, it was still unclear, which goalkeeper Babcock intended to put as the team currently packs Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith.
Trying out lineups and line combinations, Babcock said the offensive trios and defensive pairs are subject to changes.
Canada has been placed in Group B along with teams from Norway, Austria and Finland and the Canadian players will play their Sochi Olympic match against Norway on February 13.
The Canadian team won the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but statistics show that Canada has not won any Olympics held outside the North American continent for the past 20 years. Sports experts also point to the fact that there was not a national team in the Olympics history to win two Winter Games in a row.