While a deal that would allow NHL players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics has yet to be signed (one is expected as early as Monday), it hasn’t stopped USA Hockey from selecting NHL personnel to lead the team in Sochi, Russia.
According to USA Today, former Washington Capitals general manager and current Nashville Predators GM David Poile will be the GM of the U.S. Olympic team with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma serving as the Americans’ bench boss in Sochi.
An official announcement is expected Saturday in New York.
Poile is the only GM in NHL history with at least 1,000 games with two different teams (Capitals 1982-1997 and Predators 1998-present) and served as an associate GM to Brian Burke at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Poile also worked with USA Hockey at the 1998 and 1999 IIHF World Championships.
Joining Poile in assembling the Olympic roster will be Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero, who will serve as an associate GM with USA Hockey.
Shero recently gave Bylsma a two-year contract extension to remain in Pittsburgh despite the Penguins being swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bylsma won his 200th career game last season, becoming the fastest coach in NHL history to reach the milestone.
Other Americans currently coaching in the NHL who may have been considered for the Olympic position include John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks and Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The silver-medal-winning American team from 2010 was coached by former Capitals bench boss Ron Wilson, who is not currently active in the NHL.