After coaching the Penguins to five straight playoff appearances, three 100-point seasons, and a Stanley Cup in 2009, Dan Bylsma was picked Thursday to lead Team USA to Sochi gold.
Some think it was more about Bylsma’s “charisma and temperament” than his international experience, mostly because he has none, but also because new Canucks’s coach John Tortorella was thought of as the favorite for the gig before, as the USA Today suggests, he “damaged his public image” with hostile news conferences while with the Rangers.
So Bylsma it is. The Penguins will also send GM Ray Shero to serve as an associate to new USA GM David Poile, but that’s likely where the list ends for Pittsburgh since most of their best players, including former NHL MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, are of the international variety.
The move to have Bylsma coach Team USA is obviously a strong suggestion that a deal is soon to be signed between the NHL and the Olympics, especially after the IOC agreed to cover the costs necessary to insure the roughly $3 billion in contracts of the pros competing in Sochi.
The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal