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Parise: ‘I never took a shot’ at Bylsma following Olympic disappointment

Feb 25, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT

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American players were critical of their last two efforts in Sochi (see: Ryan Suter and Jonathan Quick), so it wasn’t surprising to see head coach Dan Bylsma come under fire in the days following a 5-0 loss to Finland in the bronze medal game.

One player who insists he wasn’t criticizing Bylsma, though, is team captain Zach Parise.

“I never took a shot at Dan, and I never would,” Parise said in an email to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I was asked about how we played in a particular game, and I said we were passive as a team, not playing a passive system. We seemed slow as a group that particular game (against Finland).”

Parise was emailed to share thoughts on Bylsma in response to pointed remarks after the Finland game. Parise said the Americans were “passive” and noted “we had one forechecker at times, and let [the Finns] break out of their zone.”

Here’s more, from the Trib’s Rob Rossi:

Members of Team USA management initially were concerned that players — specifically Parise, a face of USA Hockey — appeared to publicly poke at Bylsma in the wake of the disappointing Olympics finish. However, conversations between management and players Sunday cleared the air.

Also on Sunday, several Penguins players expressed disbelief and disappointment that Bylsma was taking heat for the Team USA’s failure to medal after a 4-0 Olympics start. Bylsma also came under public fire last June after the Penguins were swept from the Eastern Conference final by Boston and only scored two goals in that series — though, ownership quickly authorized a two-year extension and raise for Bylsma, who was named coach of Team USA a few weeks later.

Parise said he supported Bylsma during a discussion Sunday with Ray Shero, the Penguins general manager who was Team USA’s assistant for the Olympics. In their conversation, Parise offered details of what impressed him about Bylsma during the short Olympic tournament.

“He always asked for the opinion of the players on different things,” Parise said in the email. “And on the ice he let us play and demanded us to work. He was always detailed in his approach and his meetings. We were more than prepared from a scouting standpoint for each game.”

Parise finished the Olympics with just one point — the fourth goal in a 5-2 quarterfinal win over the Czechs — and posted a minus-1 rating over six games.

  1. jpelle82 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    who cares what happened against finland anyway? it was obvious the players didnt care about that game. to turn around in less than 24 hours and play what was basically a meaningless game to them, i didnt expect anything more than what i saw from them. they lost a 1 goal game to the eventual gold winning team. it was just gold or bust for this team. no coach couldve had them excited to play for third place.

    • esracerx46 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      A bronze medal is not meaningless. By not showing up, not caring at a global level you essentially took a crap on your country. The players are responsible yes, but so is everyone else in that locker room.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        its all based on perspective. you tend to see bronze medalists happier than silver medalists because they know how close they were to getting nothing compared to a silver medalist who has to deal with how close they were to winning. that idea doesnt apply to a team that was legitimately considered a favorite. its not like some little japanese snowboarding girl who was happy to be on the podium. they were defending silver medalists. bronze was failure, just like not winning the cup is failure for 29 teams every year. the americans played their gold medal game when they played canada. i think they wouldve beaten sweden easily had they gotten past canada, there’s no doubt in my mind actually. they probably couldnt wait to fly home after that canada game, and i dont blame them. how else would you view a tournament like this? would you rather them just play like they were happy to be there, should they have just enjoyed the experience? no, they were there to win it. maybe they shouldve just forfeited because the effort on the ice was basically a forfeit anyway.

      • tdrusher225 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Bronze medal is meaningless. No team sport gives awards for 3rd place and the only reason it is given out is because it’s the Olympics. It’s not like the team that loses in the Conference Finals would care if you gave them a trophy. You play for gold and no team should be satisfied with anything less, unless it’s some kind of Cinderella story.

      • esracerx46 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        You know what’s is more of a failure than a bronze medal? Getting blown out in the bronze medal game. The bronze medal does mean something, and it doesn’t mean failure.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        when you dont care about bronze why does it matter if you get blown out playing for it? no one on that team cares about bronze. unless you’re the olympic bobsled team from jamaica you shouldnt either…they would be ecstatic and rightfully should be. just like if slovenia had gotten bronze, they should be excited and so should their country. does anyone remember the 2nd runner up in ms universe pageant?…nobody except her and her parents. bronze would just remind them of how they failed in 2014 – better off without it. the us was too good to accept anything less than gold.

      • esracerx46 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Because Olympic hockey is not about the individual. The individuals and the team itself are representing their country.

        To clarify my Bylsma comments, while I’m not necessarily a fan, he is a good coach. Look at some of the injuries the Penguins have dealt with the last few years. However, if it weren’t for that Cup that first half season he could be the NHL’s version of Marty Schottenheimer.

    • newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      The team as a whole lost that bronze medal game by not showing up.

      And not showing up shows that the team didn’t care about the game, and as @esracerx46 said, that team basically took a “crap on the country”.

      Next time the US team should just forfeited the game before the puck drops, if they have the same views that you have….Gold or nothing is not a good way to view a tournament such as this.

      Unfortunately, as a team you should strive for the best result…not just care about getting the gold medal only.

    • laxman1944 - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      KUDOS “jpelle”……you nailed it

      This team was built to beat Canada and they ripped through everybody else to get yet another shot at slaying the beast.

      And they lost……..again…..They had to be totally crushed.

      They’re human and there was no way in hell they were going to get up for a bronze game.

      It was Gold or nothing.

  2. esracerx46 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    This has been a problem with Bylsma. Sure he won a Stanley Cup in 08/09. But the last couple years more has been expected of his teams, yet they have fallen short. There was a lot of talk on PHT of him possibly getting fired after last years debacle, yet I believe they extended him. Regular season wins mean nothing once playoffs start. He’s quickly becoming an over rated coach.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      They gave Bylsma a 2-year extension at the end of the 2013 season.

    • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      when your expectations year in and year out are stanley cup or bust, olympic gold or bust…

      A, your doing a lot of things right.
      B. you’ll be falling short a lot.

      I never thought Parise’s comments were directed towards anybody but the players themselves, but the media put it all one a spoon and most of you guys took the choo-choo train and ate it.

  3. patthehockeyfan - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    “‘I never took a shot at Dan, and I never would,’ Parise said in an email ..”

    No one would blame you if you had, Zach.

    I respect what the Penguins are doing this year. And, I’ve heard enough times about Bylsma’s failure to change, in a timely manner, a system that isn’t working.

    Passive? How about anemic?

    • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      so you think the players were playing the system they were coached to play against canada huh?

      • newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        I think Canada closed the neutral zone up on the US and pushed them to the outside not allowing them to get similar scoring chances they had against the other teams. Sitting in front of the net, or run & gun down the middle were two plays the US used on almost every single team prior to the US/Canada game.

        The Canadian defense shut them down, and the US had a very hard time adjusting their game for that battle.

        I feel that the US acted like sore losers for not showing up in the game against Finland.

        Yes Finland was a very good and underrated team, however lack of any support by the US players after losing that game against Canada was clearly visible.

        Their actions were that of a spoiled brat not getting his way.

        How would the US have reacted if they lost that game against Russia?

        Would they have not shown up for the rest of tournament?

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        one again new jersey….you don’t think they were playing how they were coached do you?

        the captain came right out and said they weren’t playing the way they were supposed to. it has nothing to do with adjustment. Dan can make all the adjustment he wants it doesn’t matter if they aren’t executing.

        Peter Laviolette was put on this staff for a reason. He is known as a guy who can motivate and get his guys going in the right direction as far as that goes and he didn’t seem to make a difference with their attitude either.

        Its on the players this time. thats it. you can keep typing out the word “adjustments” all you want but its not going to convince anybody that you know what your talking about.

        P.S. it was less the neutral zone and more the defensive blue line. you can clog up the neutral zone on Bylsma but if you get beat you get beat bad. goal. or you can stack the blue line 5 men deep like Canada did and force the team to dump the puck. which is workable but then you have to actually FORECHECK to get the puck back. there was no forecheck, not grit, not hustle. can’t coach that.

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        “so you think the players were playing the system they were coached to play against canada huh?”

        I do, c9. Look, I like Bylsma and I like the Penguins. But, as I wrote, Bylsma is known to be slow to correct what isn’t working.

        I thought this analysis of his coaching in the following article was interesting:

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        pat, what analysis?! greg wyshinski writes for Yahoo for a reason. he’s a 5th rate hockey journalist. he doesn’t even do his own analysis he was citing stuff from other sources.


        its an article written on assumption.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        This is amusing because c9castine is doing his typical caps lock arguing. Here’s the summary of his argument. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did his job putting the players in the right position, but they just didn’t execute. However! Former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did do a good enough job motivating the team to play well enough against their archrival with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. Typical brilliant analysis from the Penguins homer.

        Maybe you forgot that every year since the Pens won the Cup, Bylsma has been ripped apart during the playoffs for not being able to adjust his system to what’s happening on the ice, but clearly this time it’s different.

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        what your saying means nothing. you only show up to attempt to humiliate me and it never works.

        maybe you can tell me about how chris kunitz shouldn’t be on team canada and jonathon quick shouldn’t start for team USA some more.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        Sorry… Laviolette didn’t* do a good enough job motivating.

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        please quote me where i said that. thank you.

  4. sjsharks66 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I am way too confused with why Bylsma takes heat for the Pens not winning the cup in the last few years. 29 other teams do not win the cup every year.
    Some coaches have been fired recently that I disagreed with happening. Just because you don’t win the Cup every 2-3 years like the Blackhawks does not mean you need to fire your coach. You know who else has not taken their team to the cup as long as Bylsma? Mike Babcock, should they fire him also? Of course not! Because he is an amazing coach.

    • bgrillz - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Babcock is a great example. They haven’t won a cup since 2007-2008 season. They haven’t even won many series since then. He should be questioned and fired! Idiocy.Pittsburgh had many chances vs Boston, and as those chances hit posts or just missed, they became tighter and tighter. It happens, sometimes you run into a buzzsaw. Boston looked in control vs Chicago, and then boom, wheels off, time to fire Julien too!

      • joey4id - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        Comparing Bylsma to Babcock without looking at their teams is mistake? Bylsma has a SC contending team, and he can’t get them to the finals. Wings are in a huge rebuilding phase. They are not expected to win the cup. How well Babcock is teaching the kids is really what is key for Holland, and is the team showing signs of progress. BTW, Holland has already said that it would be difficult for the Wings to make the playoffs because many of the veterans have retired. Lidstron the biggest on on D. You can’t replace this guy.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        I rarely agree with joey4id, but he’s spot on with his analysis here. Babcock’s job has been like Brady and Belichick this year. No Gronk, Hernandez, or Welker, but the team made it to the AFC title game with undrafted rookies at key positions.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        so you’re saying babcock hasnt had a contending team since 2007-2008? dont compare this current season for the wings to the past for the penguins. not a fair comparison. plus i think there would be quite a few current and former redwings who would disagree with you. if we are talking about the current season (your babcock assesment) then you cant say bylsma cant get them to the finals when the finals havent been played yet. until the games have been played you cant compare the current season to those of the past. you can compare the past 5 years for both…but that really wouldnt suit your argument would it since the results are pretty comparable….redwings taking the hawks to 7 this past season was pretty good wouldnt you agree?

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Like I always say, look at the facts and stats. Last year the Red Wings were the 7th seed last year and took the eventual champs to 7 games. The Pens were the top seed in the East and scored 2 goals in 4 games. Those are very different results, which do support the argument.

        Also, it’s not about having a “contending team” … the argument is that Crosby and Malkin are Hart trophy winners, and 2 of the top 5 players in the NHL, and Letang is a Norris finalist, but Detroit is doing just as well, if not better with aging veterans and far less talent.

        Each year, Bylsma gets ripped for not making adjustments in the playoffs and under-utilizing his talent. Detroit goes just as far with less talent due to coaching.

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        I’m convinced narfmoo decide what he’s going to wear in the morning not by looking out the window but by adding the clouds together with a calculator.

        I’m at a loss for words when somebody tries to evaluate how good a team is by what seed they were going into the playoffs and what team they played against and yada yada.

        and then he tried saying Detroit is doing just as well if not better than Pittsburgh

        Detroit: 26-20-12 64pts.
        Pittsburgh: 45-15-3 83 pts.

        also, detroit still has zetterberg kronwall alfredsson datsyuk franzen Howard in net and some good young players. they are not rebuilding thats a joke

        Pittsburgh has played long stretches without their entire top 5 defenseman, james neal, evgeni malkin, lost first line RW pascal dupuis for the year, have had 13 different guys play 3rd line with brandon sutter, and lost our backup goalie to start the year. at one point we had 13 AHL call ups.

        im not saying detroits roster matches ours, but don’t give me this rebuilding talentless crap. its not there.

        also, your soooo far into your Penguins hatred at this point I’m absolutely loving it. not even the same team as USA but you guys just can’t help yourselves.

        It all screams of jealousy. And the Chicago fans on here are just insecure cause your little baby boy didn’t get named Captain.

  5. bgrillz - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Weird, people only second guess you when you lose. No one was complaining when they we 4-0 and scored 20 goals. Is it Bylsma’s fault they lost 1-0 on a deflection goal to the team that allowed, 3, yes 3 goals in the entire Olympic tournament? Is it also his fault that after coming out and playing a good and they crap the bed after they allow a goal? Is it his fault that Kane failed on both penalty shots? They spent all they had vs Canada, you could see that vs Finland. What an earlier poster said, if you are cup/gold or bust, you’re going to fail a lot.

  6. theageofquarrel - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    It’s just easier to hate Dan because he coaches the most hated team in the league.

    • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      exactly. and thats all it really is. no objectivity, just can’t get over that Penguins thing…

      whatever. he coaches my team ill take him every day of the week. one of the best in the business.

  7. newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I am tired of reporters trying to find blame as to why the US ended up in 4th place at the Olympics. Here is a simple breakdown.

    1. They almost lost the game to Russia (came down to a shoot-out and goal called back in the 3rd)
    2. They scored a ton of goals against lesser teams.
    3. They lost 1-0 against a team that only allowed 3 goals the entire tournament, a team that were superior on their defensive end.
    4. They never showed up for the game against Finland

    Nuff said.

    The US should be thankful for a 4th place finish. Because if they lost that game to Russia they would have had 1 extra game to play. Would they have been too tired after that relegation game too?

  8. flyerspsu - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    The Bylsma criticism belongs somewhere in the middle, hes expected too much sometimes but his teams have also fallen flat on their face, not just come up short, but got embarrassed despite being the East favorite pretty much every year

    Look at the last 4 years:

    2010 – got upset by 8th seed Canadiens in 2nd round
    2011 – lost in 1st round to Lightning, but Crosby and Malkin were out so that was understandable
    2012 – got smoked in 6 games in the 1st round by the Flyers
    2013 – got smoked/swept by the Bruins in the Conf. finals

    and now the US team falling flat on their face …, I think Bylsma deserves some criticism and questioning but not a lot, but if this trend continues its no coincidence and he deserves to be fired

    • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      lol, id beg to differ on getting smoked by the flyers.

      final goal tally in that series was something like 36-35 Flyers.

      if you wanna say we got smoked by the bruins last year alright whatever. they played us pretty damn good.

      canadiens series we came off back to back final trips. ill let that one go even though it shouldn’t have happened. like you said, not only were crosby and malkin out but so was Staal for a couple games and a lot of other guys in 2011. understandable.

      so that leaves a crazy Philly series that shouldn’t have happened, but we didn’t get “smoked”, and a strong upset in the conference finals last year.

      again, ill take it. not many teams make the playoffs every year, let alone have the kind of pressure and expectation that makes playing 85 playoffs games in 7 years “choking”.

      • flyerspsu - Feb 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        I suppose smoked is a bit much but the Flyers really embarrassed the Penguins as they melted down in first round when they were the clear East favorites. The Penguins blew the 3-0 lead in game 1 en route to 4-3 loss, they blew a 2-0 and 3-1 lead in game 2 en route to a 8-6 loss, lost 7-4 in game 3 where your captain, Neal, Asham and Adams threw temper tantrums leading to three different suspensions b/c they couldnt take going down 3-0 and in such embarrassing fashion

        the penguins won the next two, game four was a huge blowout but then in game 6 the Penguins got run right out of the building in embarrassing fashion from the opening face off en route to a
        5-1 loss

        overall it was bad for the penguins, they essentially melted down and embarrassed themselves in the 1st round when they were the clear favorites out of the East

  9. norm903 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    The US performance by “professionals” is the reason they should stay home and let the college kids get their one chance in the sun. Same with hoops. The pros already have enough glory and fame, let those who play with their hearts get the ice time and represent the true spirit of the land.

  10. chrisk61 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    who cares. the olynpics and the bronze medal game are ancient history. canada deserves credit for an outstanding effort en route to the gold medal. however the real story of the olynpics is a political one, and that is how russia’s puppet govt in ukraine resorted to sniper murder against its own citizerns while the russians where hosting the winter olympics in sochi. apart from that who cares.

    the nhl back and the remaining few wks will be a wild playoff push for many teams.

  11. jimw81 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    its amazing how lavy is excuse from criticism to what happen to Team USA. Byslma got exposed as fraud with a suck ass system.

  12. swtravis22 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    The players did not show up period! No heart at all! It’s real simple and anyone that knows anything about hockey saw exactly that!

  13. kastout11 - Feb 26, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    The players need to take ownership. I am a Flyers fan and not a big fan of Bylsma, but blaming him is ridiculous and it is on the players who did not put forth the effort to win the bronze.

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