There have been signs that the National Hockey League is once again considering the possibility of not participating in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, or more specifically banning their contracted players from participating, but that has not stopped the countries looking to participate in that tournament for gearing up for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China.
One of the big questions surrounding Team Canada at the moment will be which man will be given the bench at the tournament, with plenty of excellent candidates to choose from. There was even a rumor earlier this season that former Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock could get the nod for the position, but it would seem that he has fallen out of the running. Recent reports suggest that only two names remain in the hunt, and it may simply be that Team Canada is merely waiting for the Stanley Cup Finals to conclude before making their announcement official.
On Sunday NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that it appeared it would be Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper that would get the nod, with LeBrun indicating that "all signs" point to Cooper getting the job. It may very well be that Cooper is the favorite to get the job here, and after coaching arguably the best team in the NHL over the last two years to back to back Stanley Cup Finals it's not very hard to see why he would be strongly considered for the role. It does sound though like the final decision has not been made just yet with one other candidate in the mix.
Controversial Toronto Columnist Steve Simmons also reported on the rumored move behind Team Canada's bench on Sunday with the journalist also naming Cooper as a front runner for the role, but in the case of Simmons there was also the name of Barry Trotz that made his list of finalists. The head coach of the New York Islanders is coming off a pair of impressive seasons in his own right, coaching the Islanders to the Stanley Cup Semifinal in back to back seasons. Trotz has lost to teams coached by Cooper in both those Cup Semifinals however so that could also prove to give Cooper the edge. Either way Simmons expects both men will end up behind the bench for Canada at the Olympics, albeit with only one of the two occupying the role of head coach.