Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma certainly has an impressive resume already for a fifth year coach. After he led the Penguins to an impressive 18-3-4 record to finish the 2008-09 season, the team continued to excel throughout the playoffs. The result was a thrilling win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Bylsma became the second mid-season replacement coach to win the Stanley Cup in his first season. The success did not stop there though. Although the team has had some early playoff exits the past three seasons, the team’s win total have increased every year. In fact, the win total has increased by two games each season since 2009-10. The Penguins finished with 47 wins in 2009-10, 49 in 2010-11, and 51 in 2011-12. 53 wins in 2013 is impossible because of the 48-game season due to the NHL lockout, but Bylsma continues to show that he can be one of the league’s most successful coaches. When the team went 49-25-8 in 2010-11, they were without star centers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for the majority of the season. That played a big factor into the Jack Adams Award conversation, which Bylsma ended up winning that season.
While Bylsma focuses on winning his second Stanley Cup this season with the Penguins, he also has his eye on the 2014 Olympics. “It would be a great honor. I’ve always wanted to participate in USA Hockey. It has been on my radar for a long, long time. It’s one of my goals as a coach. It would be a great honor and certainly Sochi is coming around the corner and that is going to be hopefully an Olympics that the NHL players are a part of,” Bylsma said.
No agreement has been reached for the NHL players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but meetings should be happening very soon to attempt to get a deal done. A week ago, hockey genius Mike “Doc” Emrick from NBC gave Bylsma a vote of confidence on The PensNation Radio Show by saying, “I think Dan Bylsma is terrific. I think he should be the coach of the Olympic team if the NHL players go.” Emrick suggested on the radio show on February 6th that a meeting would be taking place in ten days. That would suggest that a meeting could take place this weekend regarding the Olympics. Click here to listen to the full interview with Emrick.
Ron Wilson was the head coach of the 2010 USA Olympic team and led the team to a silver medal. For 2014, USA Hockey has some good candidates to choose from if the NHL players go. Bylsma, John Tortorella, and Peter Laviolette are the top three front-runners for the job since each of them have won a Stanley Cup. Tortorella has coached at the World Juniors, which could help him get the job, but each coach has different styles. Wilson could also return for the second straight Olympic Games since he led the team to a silver medal in 2010. Regardless of who gets the job, it is probably an honor for Bylsma just to be considered for such a prestigious position. Bylsma has a Stanley Cup, a Jack Adams award, and is now looking for a medal in the Olympics. Will he get it? That remains to be seen, but Emrick’s words certainly cannot hurt his chances.
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