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Bylsma to helm American effort in Sochi

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NEW YORK -- Dan Bylsma was in a restaurant at a hockey rink when Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

His son's game over, he settled in to watch the Canada-U.S. final.

"When the puck spun off the boards and Sidney broke from the (faceoff) dot to the net, I got up from my chair," the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach recalled. "I had a pretty good notion that he was going to put that (puck) home for the win."

"Mixed emotions, that's for sure," he added.

On Saturday, Bylsma was introduced as coach of the U.S. hockey team at the Sochi Olympics, giving him 220 days to scheme against his Penguins captain, not to mention Russian superstar Evgeni Malkin.

The participation of NHL players at the 2014 Winter Games has yet to be confirmed. But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is slated to meet Monday with the NHL Players' Association, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation to finalize a deal.

Other candidates for the Sochi Team USA coaching job were reportedly John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks and Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ron Wilson coached the Americans in 2010 at Vancouver.

On Friday, USA Hockey named Nashville Predators president and GM David Poile as general manager of the American team. Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero will serve as associate general manager and Anaheim Ducks consultant Brian Burke will be director of player personnel.

Bylsma did not hide his lack of international coaching experience. When a reporter referred to him as not having "much experience coaching internationally," Bylsma was quick to correct him.

"I don't have any experience," he said. "So very little's wrong."

But he said he has already started educating himself and plans to continue consulting others to gain more experience.

Bylsma will no doubt be surrounded by experienced assistant coaches and USA Hockey has already made some recommendations.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 30, 2013 B5

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