Dan Bylsma

Who will coach Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics?


Yesterday’s announcement that Steve Yzerman will again GM Team Canada at the Winter Olympics got people thinking about the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia — that meant projecting rosters, lineups, management teams and of course, head coaches.

Over at ESPN, Craig Custance has compiled a list of potential American bench bosses.

[Note: Sounds like Brian Burke is likely to retain his role as GM. The architect of the silver medal-winning team in Vancouver, Burke was called “the front-runner,” by advisory committee member Dale Tallon.]

[Note 2: Of course, all 2014 Olympic posts should come with a disclaimer that NHL involvement is not guaranteed at this time.]

Currently, there are six American NHL head coaches: Joe Sacco (Colorado), Todd Richards (Columbus), Jack Capuano (New York Islanders), John Tortorella (New York Rangers), Peter Laviolette (Philadelphia) and Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh). Custance lists Bylsma and Tortorella as two of the favorites — in the last three years Bylsma has won a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams while Tortorella has the Rangers atop the East and was an assistant coach in 2010.

Custance also counts recently-fired Leafs coach Ron Wilson as a legit contender as well. Yes, even though things could be incredibly awkward with Burke as the GM.

As for the others…Laviolette gets mentioned in “the field” of candidates. He’s coached the Americans twice at the World Championships but, unfortunately, was at the helm of the disappointing U.S. team at the 2006 games in Torino (one win in six games.)

Sacco, Gordon and Richards seem like longshots, though all three have international experience. Sacco played on eight different national teams and Gordon has coached the last two World Championship squads. Richards assisted Gordon at the 2011 WHC.

As for other names to keep an eye on? If Bylsma gets the nod, Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato could be joining him — Granato has head coach experience from his time in Colorado, making the playoffs in two of his three seasons. (Of note: Granato’s brother, Don, was named head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Aug. 2011.)

Doug Weight could be one to watch as well. He’s currently assisting Caupano with the Islanders and represented his country on numerous occasions during his career, including a silver medal-winning performance at the 2002 Salt Lake games. He could bridge the gap between the new generation of American players, given he’s recently removed from his playing days.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: