Dan Bylsma, the current Pittsburgh Penguins coach, has been given the honor of leading Team USA hockey in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The 42-year-old helped lead the Penguins to Stanley Cup glory during the 2008-09 season and now he will look to lead Team USA to gold.
It won’t be an easy task and he’ll have to face some of his own players in the process. Evgeni Malkin will take the ice for Team Russia while Sidney Crosby will play for the Canadian team.
Crosby is considerably the best hockey player in the world and Team Canada will surely be favorites going into the Olympics. He’s been with Bylsma ever since the coach took over in Pittsburgh, so their connection can only help them both prepare if they face-off in 2014.
“I’ve coached Sidney and Evgeni a long time now, four-plus years, so I am acutely aware of their strengths as players,” Dan Bylsma said, according to CSN Philly. “… having said that, I’m a little concerned [Crosby] knows me as a coach and knows my strengths and weaknesses and will bring that to the Canadian team.”
The Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia, giving Malkin a home-ice advantage. His team will undoubtedly be a force, but there’s always something exciting about seeing the Canadians and Americans square off. In 2010 in Vancouver, Team Canada took home the gold medal while Team USA took home the silver.
That’s two straight silver medals for the Americans, but they hope to change that in Russia next February. The challenge begins now for Bylsma as he still has to catch on to the differences between the NHL and international game.
He doesn’t have any experience as a coach on the international side of hockey, but he’s instilled a winning attitude in Pittsburgh that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Do you think Dan Bylsma can lead Team USA hockey to a gold medal during the 2014 Winter Olympics?
[Image via Michael Miller]