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U.S. name Bylsma coach of 2014 ice hockey team

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma (C) strategizes with players (L-R): Kris Letang, James Neal, Brenden Morrow and Matt Niskanen in t
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma (C) strategizes with players (L-R): Kris Letang, James Neal, Brenden Morrow and Matt Niskanen in t

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dan Bylsma, coach of the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins, was named head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey team, USA Hockey announced on Saturday.

Bylsma, who won NHL coach of the year honors in 2011, steered the Penguins to the best record in the Eastern Conference during the 2012-13 season and to the conference finals before being swept by the Boston Bruins.

"We're thrilled to have Dan as coach of our men's Olympic team," USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio said in a statement.

"He's rapidly established himself as one of the most prominent coaches in our country today and we know he'll help put us in the best position of achieving our ultimate goal of bringing home the gold medal."

The United States were runners-up to Canada on the ice at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, losing 3-2 in overtime on a gold-medal winning goal by Sidney Crosby, a member of Bylsma's Penguins team.

Bylsma, a Grand Haven, Michigan naative who has no international coaching experience, won the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Penguins and Crosby, defeating the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.

"It's an unbelievable honor to be selected to represent our country," Bylsma said. "Together with our coaching staff and management group, I will do everything I can to prepare our team to be in a position to win gold in Sochi."

Bylsma, who employs a flowing offensive style that could be suited to the international game, will be working closely with team general manager David Poile, the GM of the Nashville Predators, and Brian Burke, director of player personnel.

USA Hockey plans to conduct an orientation camp the last week of August at the Washington Capitals' practice facility for prospective players.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled for Feb 7-23 in Sochi, Russia.

(Reporting by Larry Fine,; Editing by Gene Cherry)