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.
Many thought Asafa Powell’s career might be winding down after he crossed the line in 10.22 seconds at Jamaican trials last week, well behind Usain Bolt and a host of young compatriots. But Powell said he had an off day, and is confident he can return to form in Ostrava on Thursday.
“I knew what happened at the Jamaican trials,” Powell told reporters in Ostrava Wednesday. “I am not worried about that. I didn’t run what I want to and expect from myself. I wasn’t race ready. It was not my day. A time of 9.99s, which was enough to qualify for the World Championships in Moscow, is like walking in a forest for me.”
Bolt won’t be at the race this week, nor will 2013’s two fastest men, Americans Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin. But Powell still faces an experienced field that includes Mike Rodgers – who already ran 9.96 this season – as well as veterans Kim Collins, Jimmy Vicaut, Dwain Chambers, and defending world junior champ Adam Gemili of Great Britain. And Powell knows running another 10.22 against that field won’t cut it:
“It is very important to run under 10s. If you cannot make it, you cannot be in the top group. That is also huge motivation for me. I am in good shape now, and I have always been running very fast in Ostrava.”
We’re glad Usain Bolt was born with his incredible talent to run, because we’re not sure he would have made it as a singer after hearing him belt out a few bars of R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly on the set of a new Puma commercial. Bolt can definitely dance though, and showed off his Moonwalk, his Bernie, and his Running Man – which seemed apropos. Watch him goof around in the full video above.