a was a shot away, and returns most of its own core as from cw's blog

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. Cheap Ultra Boost Mens . His sons 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, thats 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 dont have any experience," he said. "So very littles 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. "Its a little bit in Dans court right now to filter through that and well be back together in a few days to see where that takes us," said Poile. The 42-year-old Bylsma noted he was following in the footsteps of 17 U.S. Olympic head coaches. "And what an honour and privilege that is. And a responsibility. I feel the legacy even that runs through Pittsburgh in (Badger) Bob Johnson in 76 and Herb Brooks in 1980," he said. Poile said the U.S. pool of talent may have caught people by surprise in 2010. But while that group will be even more talented in 2014, the Americans will have to face the challenge of playing on bigger ice in Russia. "Weve got to tune up our thinking a little bit and the type of players were going to choose," he said. And while veterans of the 2010 silver-medal squad will form the core of the Sochi roster, Poile said expect "some new and some different type of players on that team." The U.S. team plans an orientation camp for Aug. 25-29 in Washington, D.C. "Hockey in our country has come to a point where winning gold medals is not a miracle, its an expectation," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. Bylsma also referenced the 1980 Miracle on Ice, when an unheralded U.S. team won Olympic gold in Lake Placid. "I think I dreamt about winning an Olympic gold medal longer than Ive dreamed about winning the Stanley Cup," said Bylsma, who won the Cup in 2009 with Pittsburgh. "It dates back to that 1980 team." Asked about the film "Miracle," which tells the story of that 1980 Olympic squad, Bylsma confessed he had watched part of it a few days ago with his son and his sons cousin at the family cottage in Michigan. He knew he was going to be named coach, but had been sworn to secrecy at the time so only his wife knew in the family. "The scene where Herbs in the kitchen and hes having kind of a conversation with his wife, Im like Thats me and thats Mary Beth," he said with a laugh. "I watched half of that movie, just really freshly knowing I was going to be head coach of the team, it was kind of a surreal little moment."Bylsma, winner of the 2011 Jack Adams Award as the NHLs Most Outstanding Coach, as a career NHL coaching record of 201-93-25. As a forward, he played 429 career games from 1995 to 2004 with Los Angeles and Anaheim. "A guy that any player would want to play for, any parent would want their kid playing for," said Flyers right-winger Mike Knuble, who comes from the same area in Michigan and was a workout partner when Bylsma was a player. "Hes an up-and-coming guy. Hes proven that he can win. He coaches in a high-profile city with high-profile players and has shown that he can handle them and handle some of the egos. "When you get those teams together in the Olympics, there are a ton of them. You get 20 different egos going. Guys are used to being the man, so its how youre going to handle that. And I seem to think that he has a good grasp on how to handle egos and keep everyone pulling in the same direction." Shero called Bylsma "a great leader of athletes and players." Bylsma said while he understands the responsibility of his Olympic role, he doesnt see it as taking on the weight of a nation. "I wouldnt use the word weight but it does feel completely different," he said. USA Hockey has once again assembled an impressive braintrust for its national team, with an advisory committee featuring GMs Stan Bowman of Chicago, Paul Holmgren of Philadelphia, Dean Lombardi of Los Angeles, and Dale Tallon of Florida, as well as Pittsburgh scout Don Waddell, a former GM. The group has more than 150 years of NHL GM experience and six Stanley Cups, according to USA Hockey. Cheap Adidas Ultra Boost China . He said Tuesday thats a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans. Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night. Cheap Ultra Boost Grey . PETERSBURG, Fla. http://www.cheapultraboostfreeshipping.com/ . Westbrook has missed 27 games since having a procedure on Dec. 27 to deal with swelling in his injured right knee — the third operation on the knee in nine months. The schedule is the schedule, simple and plain. On Tuesday night in midtown Manhattan, under the low-light glow at Madison Square Garden, No. 13?Michigan State will play No. 2 Kentucky. When they finish, the court will clear, layup lines will ensue and then No. 7?Kansas, the 12-times-running Big 12 champions, will tip off against the prohibitive preseason national title favorite, No. 1 Duke.At best, Duke and Kentucky might run past each other in the tunnel leading to the floor. Or maybe Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari, with their staffers and assistants and future NBA talents in tow, will shoulder by one another in the Gardens narrow concrete bowels. Maybe they wont see each other at all.Forget all that. Forget the schedule. Forget the logistics. Forget, for a moment, that at the Champions Classic on Tuesday night Duke isnt playing Kentucky, and Kentucky isnt playing Duke.Because on Tuesday night, Duke is absolutely playing Kentucky, and Kentucky is totally playing Duke.This is the state of college basketball, and the state of these two programs. They compete not merely in actual games of basketball -- how trite -- but on a grand hegemonic scale, where wins and losses are scored across seasons and measured in national title odds and NBA lottery picks and rewarded with sheer overwhelming mindshare ... and, in turn, more future NBA lottery picks.Duke and Kentucky are competing against each other Tuesday night because at this point they are always competing against each other -- in-season and in the offseason -- in a way no other programs can sustainably match.This dynamic is nowhere more visible than in the rolls of new talent each program brings to campus each season. It has never been more glaring than right now.Since 2007, when ESPN Recruiting Nation debuted its ESPN 100 rankings, just four incoming classes have boasted at least four top-20 players. Kentucky was the first, in 2011-12, when?Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?led the Wildcats to a national title; they promptly went No. 1 and No. 2 in that summers NBA draft. The second? Duke, in 2014-15, when?Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow?and Grayson Allen scored 60 of the Blue Devils 68 points in a national title win over Wisconsin -- just two days after a?Karl-Anthony Towns-led Kentucky team lost for the first time all season.But, hey, what about those other two classes? Those also belong to Kentucky and Duke ... this season.Were in competition, Calipari told ESPNs Myron Medcalf in October. Were competing. Not really for every kid. There are kids I think should go to Duke that should not come here. Im fine with that. I mean there are other kids that theyre the kind of kids that need to come here and do their thing. We get those kids.In an incoming class many NBA scouts believe is the best in a decade, six of the nations top 10 freshmen -- and half of its top 16 -- will play at just two schools.So, how did we get here?It started, of course, with Caliparis hiring at Kentucky in 2009. Of Caliparis many gifts -- his media savvy, his salesmanship, his insatiable coaching style -- his ability to see three moves ahead may be his strongest. He recognized, immediately, that sending?John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins?(his first 1-2 NBA draft punch) to the league and celebrating their departures as his ultimate goal was a way to ensure that prospects who might be NBA draft-bound would see Kentucky as their fastest route to the pros in the NBAs post-age-limit era. The strategy paid off immediately, over and over again; since Calipari moved to Lexington, Kentucky, the Wildcats have never ranked lower than No. 2 in ESPNs yearly recruiting class rankings.Duke has always recruited well, of course; Krzyzewski isnt the only 1,000-game winner in college basketball history for nothing. But the Blue Devils path to modern one-and-done recruiting dominance has come about more recently. Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler, key components in the Blue Devils 2010 national title run, were elite prospects in their own right, but neither was a cant-miss NBA prospect.Two factors seem to have led to Dukes rise. One, which has received an outsized share of attention, is the advantage, perceived or otherwise, that Coach K derives from his place atop USA Basketball. Whether its access to the talented teenagers piping into youth teams, or the cachet accrued from coaching?LeBron James and Kevin Durant?in the Olympics, theres no doubt thee association has helped him remain plugged-in in ways that arent always the norm for those pushing 70 years old. Mens Adidas Ultra Boost 2018. The other, less-discussed factor, is the hiring of former Duke star and Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. Capel was fired after two losing seasons (and an improper benefits scandal) at Oklahoma in March of 2011. He joined Dukes staff that May. The Duke staff was already ahead of the game by then;?Kyrie Irving led the 2010 class, and Austin Rivers?(and four other top-100 players) showed up in 2011. But Capel was in full stride by the time he got?Jabari Parker?to?commit in 2013, and was just as instrumental in putting together Okafor, Jones and Winslow in that star-studded, title-winning 2014 class. Capel is now Dukes associate head coach.For years, Kentuckys recruiting primacy went more or less unchallenged. But in the past three seasons, Dukes class ranked No. 1 twice -- and this season, when it landed two of the top three players, it might as well be 1B.Even by this time last year -- a summer removed from his fifth national title, on the eve of an actual matchup with Kentucky -- we marveled at how Krzyzewski seemed to have replicated Caliparis one-and-done blueprint.We dont copy anybody, Krzyzewski said at the time. If you try to be someone else, youll be, at best, second best.Calipari, for his part, has noticed the similarities. And as someone who once had to stump constantly to make the case for the theory of the self-sustaining recruiting cycle, and who openly bristled against crusty criticism of one-and-done mercenaries, the sudden acceptance irks anew.It took Duke to do it for it to become OK, Calipari told ESPN in October. And thats, everybody knows ... Im not saying it to be nasty or mean. It is what it is. The minute that happened, they said, You know, Coach K adjusted to the times, and it was great.This barely disguised rivalry has occasionally dropped all pretense. Like, for example, the now-infamous fishing-rod-emoji-gate, when Dukes official Twitter account briefly subtweeted Calipari after his blog post in reference to a recruits quote about the two schools differing pitches. The details of this mouthful are not worth recounting again, except to say that the whole thing was really funny.The larger point is this: Rarely have two programs that dont share a traditional geographic or conference-oriented rivalry been so intensely focused on each other -- and rarely have the stakes been so high.Which is not to say the national title game is destined to come down to Duke and Kentucky. Of course it isnt. Dukes real-world opponent on Tuesday night, No. 3 Kansas, has its own remarkable freshman star (potential 2017 No. 1 draft pick Josh Jackson) joining?Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham, perhaps the nations best (or at least most experienced) backcourt (and what could be a monstrous perimeter defense).Villanova, lest we forget, just won the national title in historically mind-blowing fashion, and returns a huge chunk of its minutes and production -- including All-American candidate Josh Hart. North Carolina was a shot away, and returns most of its own core as well.Virginia is one season removed from back-to-back ACC titles; Tony Bennett has built his own version of self-sustaining success, and is recruiting better than ever because of it. Wisconsin brought everybody back from a team that finished 13-4; Oregon and Arizona will be strong out west; Louisville will guard like crazy.Most of all, college basketball will be college basketball. No matter how talented you are, theres no such thing as a guarantee. As Calipari once said, the best a college coach can hope for is to get up to bat -- to increase his late-tournament odds just by being there in the first place.Duke and Kentucky have done just that, in a way that more or less assures that once every few years one, or both, will be favored to win the only title either really cares about. Theyve done so in similar, if not identical, ways, and have lifted themselves to an altogether different plane than their peers.Kentucky and Duke dont play each other Tuesday night, but they dont need to. In this sweeping strategic clash, winning and losing is bigger than wins and losses, and competition need not be dictated by schedule. You dont even need to be on the same floor. 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