Penguin Notes: Canada going for Gold, Bylsma, Orpik

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**Team Canada is hunting its third gold medal in the last four Olympics games Sunday morning after going the previous 12 games without gold.

**If you never saw the movie “Absolute Power“, the following blurb won’t have much meaning to you. Feel free to skip over it.

As a burglar in Absolute Power, Clint Eastwood asks a well-to-do political backer the following question near the end of the movie, “When you’re alone and rage takes over and you want revenge…what face do you put with your enemy?”

Well, if a reporter asks Penguins coach, Dan Bylsma, the same question, there’s little doubt Tuukka Rask would rate highly on a short list. Rask helped the Boston Bruins limit Pittsburgh to two goals in four playoffs games last spring and then shut out Team USA in the bronze medal game Saturday.

**Regardless of how you might feel about Bylsma and his coaching abilities, Dustin Brown’s personal criticism of Bylsma can be explained in the following series of tweets.

**Brooks Orpik may be my favorite Penguins defenseman of all-time, but where have his bone-crunching checks gone?

I can accept the decline in other areas of his game so long as he continues to play with an edge, but he hasn’t consistently done so. He chips in with the occasion impact hit, such as the one he laid out Boston’s Loui Eriksson, but we need to see more of it. No one’s advocating hits which give opponents concussions, but he needs to regain that fear factor he once had. Opposing forwards aren’t afraid to enter Pittsburgh’s zone with Orpik on the ice any longer. Orpik needs to play closer to the edge to have the kind of value he once enjoyed.

**The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic chronicled Bylsma’s Olympic path in his column “Bylsma’s dream job unravels.” Click here to read.

“After the Canada game, Suter called the Americans “passive,” which I thought might have been a shot at Bylsma’s system.

I wasn’t sure until after the Finland game, when Parise offered this, unsolicited: “We were passive. We had one forechecker at times, let them break out of their zone.”

Again, that’s from the captain. Moreover, it’s the same term Suter and others used, which makes it mere common sense that it likely was working around the locker room.”

Bylsma’s inability or unwillingness to change hurt Team USA the way stretch passes have hurt the Penguins in past postseasons.

**And here’s another take on American’s performance in Sochi. Yahoo!’s Greg Wyshynski wrote a column entitled “Dan Bylsma deserves blame for USA Hockey’s Olympic Embarrassment.” Click here.

**It’s hard to believe Finland won’t be playing for gold Sunday, if only because everything Penguins defenseman, Olli Maatta, turns to gold.

**********

Treasure Life!
JT
@JohnToperzer
@PiratesTalk

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