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Report: U.S. to name Olympic coach on June 29


Despite no formal agreement for NHL participation at the 2014 Olympics, countries are continuing to prepare as if NHLers are going to Sochi.

USA Hockey is set to announce its head coach for the winter games on June 29, according to Sportsnet (by way of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi.)

The news comes just a week after Sweden announced its Olympic camp roster.

Rossi reached out to USA Hockey for a response to the report, but the organization declined comment.

It’s expected USA Hockey will go with a different staff than the one that captured silver in 2010, when ex-Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson served as bench boss, assisted by ex-Islanders head coach Scott Gordon and ex-Rangers coach John Tortorella.

Ex-Leafs GM Brian Burke was the general manager.

(Notice a theme there?)

In late May, a report claimed Burke had already been ruled out as a potential GM for ’14, and it seems unlikely Wilson would be brought back to reprise his role.

Gordon and Tortorella seem unlikely as well, though less so.

So, replacements?

Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma is thought to be the leading candidate for the head coaching gig. Since taking the Pens job in 2009, he’s won a Stanley Cup and Jack Adams award and advanced to this year’s Eastern Conference final.

Assuming USA Hockey wants active NHL coaches for assistant positions, the likes of Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette, Columbus’ Todd Richards and New York Islanders’ Jack Capuano will garner strong consideration.

As for the GM job, it sound as though Nashville’s David Poile — a three-time NHL GM of the Year award nominee — is a frontrunner.

Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero, who currently sits on the USA Hockey advisory board, could also be in the mix, though as of last week he said he hadn’t been asked about running the team.

Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:



Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

Mike Commodore

Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

Commodore wasn’t done there:

And there was much, much more.

To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.