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Bylsma prepares to face Crosby, Malkin in Olympics

Jun 29, 2013, 10:53 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin AP

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has been tapped as Team USA’s bench boss for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The United States won the silver medal in 2010 and this time around they want to do one better. They are in the same pool as Russia and there’s a good chance they’ll need to beat Team Canada too at some point in order to fulfill their goal.

Both contests would pit Bylsma against his best players with the Penguins — Evgeni Malkin (Team Russia) and Sidney Crosby (Canada).

“I’ve coached Sidney and Evgeni a long time now, four-plus years, so I am acutely aware of their strengths as players,” 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.”

Those certainly won’t be the only matchups that will force longtime NHL teammates and their coaches to compete against each other, but it certainly is one of the interesting ones. When the Olympics start, team loyalties will take a backseat to serving their nations.

Related:

USA Hockey confirms Olympic management team

  1. apkyletexas - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Maybe he can convince the Olympic Committee to let Chara and Rask play for the U.S.

    • girouxed - Jun 30, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      Chara is Slovak and Rask is Finnish.

      Theyre not American.

  2. 19to77 - Jun 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Meanwhile, PHT prepares to post about a billion articles about the Olympics specifically as they relate to the Penguins in a cheap attempt to draw comments and views.

    • cheesesteak75 - Jun 30, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Like your comment?

  3. steelers88 - Jun 29, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Maybe Dan Byslma will actually have to coach without Crosby and Malkin.

    • hazlydose - Jun 30, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      Like when he won the Jack Adams in 2011 with Sid and Geno out the entire second half of the year?

      • stakex - Jun 30, 2013 at 12:59 AM

        And his team looked weak and ineffective in the seven games that actually mattered as they were upset in the first round.

        You can’t have it both ways either and say “…but they didn’t have Crosby!”, because you were just talking about how great they played without him. They just didn’t do it when it mattered most, a recurring theme of late for Bylsma.

  4. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 30, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    @19to77 well it must’ve worked since it brought you and your stupidity here.

  5. stakex - Jun 30, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Interesting thing here is that the easiest way to disrupt Malkin is simply be physical with him. He is pretty easy to get off his game by getting in his face and playing the body well. One must wonder though if Bylsma would really coach team USA to go out of their way to be physical against Malkin or especially Crosby. If he wants to win he would, but there is certainly a conflict of interest there.

    • hawkeedawg - Jun 30, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      Two other major facts come into play here.
      1. The officiating will be a lot tighter than the NHL playoffs.
      2. Players will be 100% healthy, not playing hurt, insurance won’t allow it.

      I love the NHL, but the past 4 Olympics have been the best “by the book” hockey.

    • drone501 - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:53 AM

      come on my man. the guys one of the top 5 players in the league and a league mvp. do you really know your hockey.

  6. chanceoffleury1 - Jun 30, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    If it was that easy to shut Malkin down, somebody in this league would have figured it out by now. Even look at the Boston series where he was held pointless. I think we can all agree that the Bruins are one of the most physical teams in the league. And while they did hold Malkin pointless, he had 21 SOG in 4 games. Most of him being “shutdown” was due to Rask’s insane play combining with Malkin’s inability to hit a target if he had to save his life (or the Penguins season :/ ). His ability to get shots off was really not affected at all by a team collectively playing physical against him. And he had 4 hits in that series compared to 3 hits in his prior 11 playoff games, too. He’ll play a more physical style of game if that’s what’s being asked of him. He’s not a forward to shy away from a hit. He’s a big, sturdy guy.

    The Bruins held Crosby to 13 shots and Patrick Kane to 17 shots in the last 4 games of the Finals. I think if your logic to beating Malkin is to play physical against him, then it’s just as easy to argue that the Russians just have to play really physical against the Canadians and Americans to shut down their top players. And in fact, that logic would be much more applicable to the success of the Russians than it would be the US or Canadians because the tactic worked better against Kane and Crosby than it did against Malkin. But to be honest, I think it’s a lost tactic on all 3. The reason they are so good is because 99% of the time they are extremely adaptive players. They are the ones that are going to dictate the type of game being played whether that be physical or fast paced or dump and chase. Whatever type of game it is, they do what it takes to make it work. There is always going to be the 1% where they just don’t look right or aren’t themselves. They are missing targets, making blind passes, taking bad shots, etc. They’re humans, not robots. They’re gonna have bad games,series, even entire stretches of seasons at times. You just have to hope they’re on their game at the right time, and when they aren’t the rest of the team is there to pick up the slack. Like I said, if there was any even REMOTELY consistently effective way of shutting any of these top of the league guys down it would have already been decoded.

  7. snak10 - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    All irrelevant…Canada will be too strong…

  8. steelers88 - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    It just seemed to me in the Playoffs where the Penguins didn’t have Crosby and Malkin they seemed to better, than they have the past 2 years and at least they didn’t get embarrassed 2 years ago.

  9. pastabelly - Jun 30, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Canada won’t win with its subpar goaltenders. They won’t even medal on foreign soil.

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