Mike Babcock, Sidney Crosby hold Jonathan Toews in “high regard”

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Sidney Crosby was always going to be the captain of Team Canada at the Olympics in Sochi next month. Everyone knew that, including Jonathan Toews.

“I think everyone knows that Sidney was the guy,” said Toews, who will be an alternate captain along with Shea Weber. “I’m just honored to have been in the conversation.”

Turns out Toews, in fact, was a very big part of that conversation. Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday morning that Crosby essentially wanted to clear his captaincy with Toews, since Toews has led the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups, while Crosby has led the Penguins to only one.

“Sidney Crosby wanted to make sure it was OK with him, just for the fact that he had won a couple Cups,” Babcock said. “He’s held in high regard, to say the least, amongst coaches, amongst management, amongst players. He’s a huge part of the reason why [the Blackhawks] win as much as they do.”

Crosby didn’t contact Toews directly, but went through the coaching staff. And while Toews was flattered, he said, “I’m sure he said that to be polite.”

“Sidney asking the other guys for their approval, I don’t think he needed to do that, but that just shows what kind of guy he is,” Toews said. “He’s obviously a great captain in Pittsburgh.”

Still, the fact that he’s so well respected by his peers and by coaches around the league isn’t lost on Toews.

“It definitely means a lot, especially from a coach (Babcock) who you went up against in the playoffs several times,” Toews said. “It was an amazing seven-game series last year, and obviously I had the chance to play for him at the Olympics in 2010, so it means a lot. From a guy like Sidney, as well. You just try and keep doing the things that make you successful and [help make] the team be successful, and that pays off and it’s great.”

Babcock actually bristled when a reporter asked why he “gave” a letter to Toews.

“I never gave it to him, he earned the right to be a captain with Canada,” he said. “I mean, he’s won two Cups, he’s won an Olympic gold, he’s won a World Junior. … He’s a pro who does it right every day. He’s a 200-footer. To me, he’s an impressive, impressive man.”

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