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.
Two Americans will go from the Rio Olympic track next month to the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6.
Kim Conley, who made her second Olympic 5000m team earlier this month, will debut in the marathon less than three months after her event final in Rio. The full American field for the race is here.
Conley joins fellow two-time Olympian Molly Huddle in making a 26.2-mile debut in New York. Huddle announced her entry June 9, following a trend of recent great U.S. distance runners, and one month later won the Olympic Trials 10,000m.
The New York field will also include Dathan Ritzenhein, a 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympian who failed to make the Rio team. Ritzenhein was the fastest American at the 2015 Boston Marathon in seventh place (2:11:20) but dropped out of the Olympic Trials marathon on Feb. 13 around mile 20.
Sara Hall, the wife of the retired Ryan Hall (fastest American marathoner of all time), will make her New York City Marathon debut on Nov. 6 as well. Sara Hall was the top American at the London Marathon on April 24 in 12th place.
More Rio Olympians could still be added to the New York City Marathon field.
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The Brazil men’s basketball team may be down two of its top four scorers from the 2012 Olympics.
Golden State Warriors big man Anderson Varejao is likely to be withdrawn from the Rio roster (named last week) due to a back injury, according to ESPN.com.
Varejao’s absence would further deplete Brazil in the frontcourt. The team is already without Atlanta Hawks big man Tiago Splitter, who underwent NBA season-ending hip surgery in February.
Splitter and Varejao were the third- and fourth-leading scorers on Brazil’s 2012 Olympic team that was eliminated in the quarterfinals after not qualifying for the Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
The Rio roster includes four other NBA players — Leandro Barbosa, Marcelo Huertas, Nenê and Raul Neto.
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