Posts Tagged ‘Dan Bylsma’

Top Line: Brent Seabrook ban coming; Wild look silly vs. whiz kid; more links

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By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• The St. Louis Blues got payback the smart way after a vicious cheap shot by Brent Seabrook left captain David Backes crumpled in the corner in the dying minutes of Game 2. Just a brain-dead play by the veteran defender … and not a real good look on Jonathan Toews, either. I expect a little more from him than to be seen chirping the obviously dazed Backes.

• Honestly, we can’t be surprised at this point to hear that Seabrook will have a phone hearing with the Department of Player Safety, meaning his suspension won’t top five games. If a hit as dangerous, as injurious and as blatantly offensive to common sense as that doesn’t merit a more serious response, it’s time to dismantle the department and start from scratch.

• They’re even questioning the dirty, stupid play of the Blackhawks in Chicago after this one. What does that tell you?

• It’s not often I get to link to the great Michael Enright in this column, but his essay on the complicity of the NHL in the build-up of hockey violence fits nicely today.

• Nathan MacKinnon’s nickname is silly, but not as silly as he’s making the Wild look in his NHL playoff debut. Gotta hand it to this kid. The bigger the game, the better he plays.

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  • Published On Apr 20, 2014
  • Takeaways from the Sochi Olympics for the NHL stretch drive and beyond

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    Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens

    Goalie Carey Price now has to contend with Montreal’s not-so-golden corps of blueliners. (Gerry Broome/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Some closing thoughts as the world’s best hockey players return from Sochi for the closing stretch of the NHL season:

    High Price

    Is anyone due for a bigger shock upon returning to the NHL than Canadiens goalie Carey Price? After two weeks of playing behind Team Canada defensemen Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty, he now has to deliver with Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin and Douglas Murray butchering the puck in front of him. Still, he might be the one player who benefits the most from his Olympic experience and, by extension, so might Montreal. Price wasn’t the reason Canada won gold, but he was a reason. He was sensational in Sochi, where he literally made every single stop he was supposed to make and weathered early challenges in both medal round games on the way to shutting out the U.S. and Finland. Price left the tournament with a GAA of 0.59, a save percentage of .972 and the confidence that comes from measuring yourself against the best in the world and finding out that you belong in that club. He’ll be a beast down the stretch.

    Grand Granlund

    Everyone was happy to see 43-year-old Teemu Selanne named the MVP of the Olympic hockey tournament, but he’s not in the mix for that honor without the playmaking skills of the breakout star of the Sochi Games: Mikael Granlund. “This is his business card for the world to show that he is hungry and can’t wait to get out there,” Selanne said after Granlund ladled out the sauce twice while leading the Finns to their bronze-medal clinching 5-0 win over Team USA. The Wild’s young star stepped up to fill a void on Finland’s top line and powered the team’s offense (3 goals, 4 assists) with his quick reads and creativity. One NHL team exec told SI.com that a younger Selanne would have scored 10 goals thanks to the way Granlund was feeding him the puck. The same exec also said that Granlund might benefit from “calling his own number more often,” but Minnesota will likely be happy if he keeps working the same magic that he did with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville in the weeks leading up to the break.

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  • Published On Feb 24, 2014
  • Top Line: Thomas Vanek trade a lock; Dan Bylsma criticized; more links

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    Thomas Vanek of the New York Islanders

    With the Islanders’ playoff hopes dim, Thomas Vanek will be dealt, but he may have hurt his stock in Sochi. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Thomas Vanek is downplaying his Sochi partying scandal ahead of next week’s trade deadline. Makes sense, considering how desperately he wants off Long Island, but there’s little doubt that his selfish behavior could impact the return that GM Garth Snow can get for him.

    • Team USA coach Dan Bylsma was criticized by his players in Sochi, but his team in Pittsburgh has his back.

    • The players who stayed behind while the NHL’s stars went to Sochi may have to carry the mail for a bit as their teammates wind down from the Olympic experience.

    • Could this have been the greatest ever edition of Team Canada? Its former GM, Steve Yzerman, says that it belongs in the conversation. Hard to disagree with him.

    • Canada’s 3-0 win over Sweden in the Olympic final on Sunday was the latest — but not the last — achievement of the nation’s golden generation.

    • The result was inevitable as soon as Mike Babcock wrote these three names on his white board at Team Canada’s orientation camp last summer.

    • Was it an IOC conspiracy that led to Nicklas Backstrom being identified as a drug cheat just minutes before the gold-medal game? Several Swedes seem to think so.

    • Whether it was a conspiracy or plain incompetence, it was a sad way to end the Games.

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  • Published On Feb 24, 2014
  • Team USA’s projected roster for Sochi Olympics could be America’s best ever

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    By Allan Muir

    This is the sort of problem that USA Hockey always dreamed of having. As it winds down its preparations ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the club’s management is finalizing selections from a talent pool that is deeper than at any point in the country’s history, ensuring that the 25 men who are eventually chosen will offer an enviable mix of size, skill, grit and experience. And they’ll have the potential to be the greatest ever to wear the Stars and Stripes.

    In other words, they won’t need to rely on a hot goalie to get them to the gold medal game.

    All that talent makes for a challenging selection process, but as this NHL season has played out, the choices have become more clear. Team USA GM David Poile said last month that seven forwards are locks. That number has to be at least 10 by this point. Six of his eight defensive spots should be spoken for. And the goalie race has likely been whittled down to two players battling for the sweet spot in the press box.

    MUIR: Sochi Olympic goalie Power Rankings

    There are a couple of injuries that are throwing some confusion into the mix—Jonathan Quick and Paul Martin, to name two—and there’s always the chance that the Hockey Gods might toss another wrench into the USA’s best-laid plans. But with about three weeks to go before the final announcement at the Winter Classic, it’s likely the only spots left to fill on the roster are the extras.

    With that in mind, here’s a projection of how Team USA will look on Jan. 1.

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  • Published On Dec 09, 2013
  • Dan Bylsma offers fresh excuse to dodge jury duty

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    Dan Bylsma dodged jury duty because of obligations to the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Dan Bylsma dodged jury duty because of obligations to the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Not sure where this ranks on the all-time list of great excuses to get out of jury duty, but it has to be right up there.

    Faced with a lengthy stretch of civic duty this week, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wriggled free of his obligation with a unique reason: He couldn’t serve because he has to coach the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team this weekend.

    Guess that’s a little more believable than, say, a note from Epstein’s mother.

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  • Published On Aug 20, 2013
  • Penguins give Dan Bylsma, assistant coaches, two-year extensions

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    Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma

    Many people figured Dan Bylsma was a goner after his Penguins were swept by the Bruins. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Instead of holding his coach accountable for the team’s four-game ouster in the Eastern Conference Finals, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero gave Dan Bylsma a strong vote of confidence.

    “I really believe we have a great head coach in Dan Bylsma…he’s the coach to move us forward,” Shero said in announcing a two-year extension for Bylsma and assistants Tony Granato and Todd Reirden.

    Bylsma had a year remaining on his current deal, so the extension keeps him under contract through the 2015-16 season.

    “I have a very good coach that I want to work with to lead this team,” Shero said. “I believe in Dan Bylsma. I believe in our coaching staff.”

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  • Published On Jun 12, 2013
  • Pittsburgh Penguins at crossroads after stunning 2013 playoff collapse

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    Evgeni Malkin (71) and the Penguins may have suffered the worst playoff loss in team history. (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Evgeni Malkin (71) and the Penguins suffered what may be the worst defeat in team history. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Remember the 2009 Stanley Cup? It was supposed to be a coming-out party for Pittsburgh’s coterie of young superstars, the first in what surely would be a dynastic run of championships that would define the NHL’s new decade.

    Just four years later, that seven-game victory over the Detroit Red Wings is starting to look like lightning in a bottle. A series of fortuitous events that culminated in an unlikely title for a team whose hypotheticals always look better than their reality.

    Since then, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been a good team that aspires to greatness, but always finds it resides somewhere out of their grasp. A group whose vision always seems to be focused on a prize off in the distance instead of the obstacle directly in front of them.

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  • Published On Jun 08, 2013
  • Top Line: Vets step up for Blackhawks; B’s look to close out Pens; more links

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    The Los Angeles Kings are on the brink of elimination.

    End of the road? A trip to Chicago may be it for the defending champs. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • The Blackhawks showed off their depth in Thursday’s 3-2 win. With Duncan Keith in the press box, four vets stepped up to carry the defensive load for Chicago.

    • The Hawks had bemoaned the lack of space that the Kings allowed them through the first three games. They finally got a chance to show what they could do when given a little room to operate.

    • With seemingly thousands of Chicago fans in attendance, the Hawks took away the one advantage that Los Angeles had in Game 4: home ice.

    • Two third-period shots in a must-win game? An effort like that suggests the Kings are ready to be finished off.

    • Not scoring is bad enough. Not committing to defense? That’s lethal to the Kings.

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  • Published On Jun 07, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Down 2-0, Penguins seek change in Game 3 versus Bruins

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    Coach Dan Bylsma and the Penguins are in trouble vs. the Bruins

    Got any good ideas, guys? The Penguins must find a way to get back on their game, fast. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

    By Brian Cazeneuve

    BOSTON — Ch-ch-changes may be in the works for the Penguins’ lineup, but as the series shifts to Boston after a pair of stunning games in Pittsburgh in which the Eastern Conference Finals favorites were outscored 9-1, there’s no telling if there will also be a change of fortune for the suddenly reeling Cup contenders.

    “We’re not liking the picture. We’re down 0-2,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. “They’re in control. They’ve won two games on the road.”

    Though the Penguins put up a fight, hit a few posts and endured some bad luck in their 3-0 loss in Game 1, they were badly outplayed in almost every aspect of Game 2, a 6-1 embarrassment on home ice.

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  • Published On Jun 05, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Bruins crush Penguins 6-1, lead Eastern Conference Finals 2-0

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    brad-marchand

    Brad Marchand (center) scored two of the four goals the Bruins banged home in the first period. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Brian Cazeneuve

    PITTSBURGH — Of course, everyone knew that the Bruins would waltz into Pittsburgh and outscore the home team 9-1 in two commanding victories. No surprise, right?

    “Shocked? Not really shocked,” forward Nathan Horton after his team dismantled the Penguins 6-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “Or maybe shocked, I don’t know. We maybe didn’t expect this.”

    Nope. Who would have expected the Penguins, laden with firepower but shut out 3-0 in the series opener and vowing to reassert their skill game, to suffer a 6-1 embarrassment on home ice in Game 2? What does this say about them, especially after the way they were derailed last year by the rival Flyers in a chippy, high-scoring series?

    During the first two games, the Bruins have forced turnovers, made far fewer mistakes, gotten far better goaltending, rendered Pittsburgh’s superstars pointless, and now look like a decisively better team against the East’s Stanley Cup favorites.

    Here are some thoughts and observations from a Game 2 shocker:

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  • Published On Jun 04, 2013


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