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.
We already knew Katie Ledecky can beat the boys in practice, even an Olympic champion.
One of the many takeaways from this week’s Sports Illustrated profile of Ledecky is that she has beaten 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte in practice.
Ledecky and Lochte may rep different swim clubs — Ledecky in Washington, D.C., and Lochte in Charlotte — but they both take trips to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for altitude training.
“She swims like a guy,” Lochte said after training with Ledecky in Colorado Springs in March, according to SI. “I’ve never seen a female swimmer like that. … Her times are becoming good for a guy. She’s beating me now, and I’m like, What’s going on?”
When Ledecky broke the women’s 1500m freestyle world record for the third time at the August 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, her time of 15:28.36 was .01 faster than Lochte’s 1500m free time at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (one of the rare instances Lochte swam a 1500m free).
Ledecky has since re-broken the women’s 1500m free world record twice more, bringing it down to 15:25.48.
“I trained with her in Colorado once, and she made me look like I was stopping,” Lochte reportedly told media on his 31st birthday, Aug. 3 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia. “She flew by me.”
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.
Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.
Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.
Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.
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