Failing Eventualy Does Matter

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Dan Bylsma was let go yesterday by the Pittsburgh Penguins. It marks the end of a tough six months behind the bench for the Penguins and for Team USA in the Winter Olympics.

Bylsma is the winningest coach in Penguins history (252-117-32) and lead them to a Stanley Cup in 2009 (albeit he came on in February of that year.) But blowing a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers may have sealed his fate.

Dan Bylsma

The fact is that Bylsma couldn’t get the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup Final even with players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the ice. While these players have had injuries over the years (Crosby missed most of the 2010-2012 seasons with concussion type symptoms) the Penguins were still a force to be reckoned with and were always an odds on favorite to win the Cup.

Two other things didn’t help Bylsma the first six months of this year. First was the non-medaling performance by Team USA in the Winter Olympics and then a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on national TV during the Stadium Series.

Bylsma probably won’t be out of work for very long since there are three teams besides Pittsburgh looking for head coaches right now.

While the Penguins organization felt that a change needed to be made the move also points out again that sports is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ business. Yes the expectations are high in Pittsburgh and they should be. Look at the team they have now and the history they have. So remember that while you may hear buzzwords like ‘fail fast’ going around right now, you can only fail for so long before you have to pay the piper.

 

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The Mental Challenge

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Once again the USA Hockey team lost to Team Canada in the medal round of the Winter Olympics. The Women’s team lost to Canada too, blowing a 2-0 lead. The women will take home a silver medal and the men will go home empty handed. Either way, you don’t win silver or bronze but lose gold.

Winter Olympics

Canada’s national sport is hockey. The US, not so much. Team Canada’s hockey team is a whose who of professional hockey players. From Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron to Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Marleau. You could make a medal winning team of Canadian players who weren’t on the roster.

Does that matter? Yes. Is it all that matters? No.

The US had as good of a shot as anybody at winning the gold in men’s and women’s hockey. The talent level is good enough and so is the coaching. Now it may just be a question of psychology.

The men have now lost to the Canadians in the medal round of the last two Winter Olympics. If and when they meet again, it’s going to be a mental challenge more than anything.While it may not be as challenging as beating the Russians back in 1980 it’ll still be a challenge.