The Washington Times - May 5, 2009, 03:05PM

The authors are down 2-0 in this series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t much of a book reader, having admitted to pretty much limiting his literary tastes to pro wrestling books.


But Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma is a literary machine — a writing team with his father Jay, having authored four books, geared toward young adults and sports parents — two about hockey and two novels, one about baseball and the second about basketball.

One book is called, “So You Want to Play in the NHL,” which, according to, “whether you play hockey just for fun, or if you aspire toplay at higher levels, I think you will find this book helpful.  It doesn’t have any hints about improving your slapshot or increasing your speed.  But it will improve yourunderstanding of your participation in youth sports in general and hockey in particular.  I think it will inspire you to be a better player and a better person.  It won’t help you play the game better, it will help you live the game better.”

Here is an excerpt from a chapter:

“What are some of the things every coach likes?  You can put hard work on the top of your list.  And the list will also contain things like these: 

      · hard work when you practice.

      · hard work when you play.

     · being courteous, that is: being on time, telling him in advance if you cannot be at a game or practice, listening when he speaks.

     · being respectful of him, the officials, your teammates, and equipment, both yours and theirs.

     · being coachable by doing what he asks you, following his game plan, taking suggestions as to how you can improve.

     · being in control by not taking retaliating penalties, coming off the ice promptly when a line change is made on the fly, watching your temper and your language.

     · being helpful by cleaning up your share of the tape balls after practice and taking your turn at being water boy or picking up the pucks after practice.

      • being selfless by passing the puck to a teammate on a 2-on-0 with an open net, welcoming new players to the team, correcting the score sheet if you are credited with an assist that belongs to someone else. 

    · being ready to play by having all your equipment, being sure your skates sharpened, and having enough tape.”

Yes, it is important to have enough tape — to cover Sidney Crosby’s mouth.

The other hockey book by Bylsma and his father is for parents, and it is called, “So Your Son Wants To Play In The NHL,” which, according to the web site,  “offers practical advice to parents who are faced with the complex challenges of raising children in sports. How much should they practice? What level of competition is appropriate? How hard do you push? What can you do to avoid burnout? Why stress education?”

It is important to stress education to know when to shut up — a lesson Crosby might benefit from.

Another book is a basketball novel called, “Slam Dunks Not Allowed!”, about a former high school basketball player named Woody Nelson who rode the bench as a player but becomes a World War II fighter pilot.

“‘Slam Dunks Not Allowed’ portrays American life during the war and writes itself on the hearts and minds of its readers,” the web site states.

The baseball novel is called, “Pitcher’s Hand Is Out!,” and it features a main character named Scooter, Satchel Paige, a refugee family from Hitler’s Germany, and experience the strangest play in baseball history, according to Bylsma’s web site.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, where Scooter’s grandfather is explaining to him the color line in baseball at the time the book takes place:

    “Life isn’t fair,” the old man said with a sad note in his voice. “And life isn’t gonna be fair. There are gonna to be times when someone thinks you’re too young, other times when you’ll be too old. Times when you wish you were a man, others when you wish you were a woman. And all the time, you have to play the cards He deals you. Being successful and happy isn’t about getting a good hand, it’s about playing the cards you’re dealt the best you can.
     “Take Satchel Paige, for example. Would he like to play in the Majors? I’m sure he would. But he’s not sitting around pouting.”

Sidney Crosby is no Satchel Paige.

I look forward to Bruce Boudreau’s first book.


I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM Washington on Wednesday, May 6, from 5 to 7 p.m.

To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to