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Practice Report

Mike Babcock won't reveal lineup for Game 2

Team Canada coach quiet on who plays in potential World Cup clincher

by Arpon Basu @arponbasu / Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Team Canada coach Mike Babcock would not share his lineup for Game 2 of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA, TVA Sports).

Babcock has revealed his lineup decisions the day before each of the eight games Team Canada has played in the pretournament and tournament.

When asked if he would reveal his lineup Wednesday, Babcock said, "Not at this time, no."

Team Canada has not dressed forward Claude Giroux, defenseman Jake Muzzin and goaltender Braden Holtby in four of its five games.

Babcock has been using his fourth line of Ryan O'Reilly, Joe Thornton and Matt Duchene more sparingly in the semifinal and final than he did in the preliminary round of the tournament, and it's possible Giroux might be inserted in place of one of those forwards.

Video: EUR@CAN: Mic'd up Crosby strategizes during Game 1

Thornton played 8:41 in Game 1 against Team Europe, his lowest ice time of the tournament, O'Reilly was on the ice for 10:51 and Duchene played 9:25. O'Reilly and Duchene each played his fewest minutes of the tournament in the semifinal against Team Russia on Saturday at 8:10 and 7:51, respectively.

"I don't go in after one [period] and say, 'I played this guy six [minutes] I've got to get him eight.' I don't care," Babcock said. "I just go there and watch, if you're playing good you'll play more and if you're not you won't get to play as much."

Babcock pointed to the importance of matchups, and how often Team Europe center Anze Kopitar was sent out for faceoffs, in influencing his decisions on bench management.

"[Wednesday] I noticed that Kopitar took 32 faceoffs, that's a lot of faceoffs," Babcock said. "I noticed he played 22 minutes (actually 22:45), that's a lot of minutes."

The line of Jonathan Toews, Logan Couture and Corey Perry was primarily the one deployed against Kopitar on Tuesday.

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