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Bylsma: ‘I have never coached for my job’

Jun 6, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT


To whom much is given, much is expected.

And as hockey fans are well aware, much has been given to Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.

With a lineup featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — and bolstered before the trade deadline by the likes of Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow — Pittsburgh went into the playoffs as the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup, just as it did last year before falling in the first round to the Flyers. (And in rather embarrassing fashion, at that.)

So, naturally, the question is being raised after last night’s double-overtime thriller in Boston — if the Penguins are swept by the Bruins, will Bylsma keep his job?

“I’m not coaching, don’t coach, have never coached for my job,” Bylsma said today when asked what was at stake for him personally in this series.

“I coached this hockey team in 2009. I came here to win hockey games, and that’s where we’re at right now.

“We know what’s in front of us. We know exactly what’s in front of us, with the odds, being down 0-3.

“But, I believe in that group, I believe in that team, I believe in how we battled and how we’re going to battle, and we’re going to go in knowing we have an elimination game to win Game 4.”

Bylsma, of course, helped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009, and he was named the NHL’s coach of the year in 2011 after leading them to the playoffs despite injuries to Crosby and Malkin.

And even with all the firepower they currently boast up front, the defense and goaltending were question marks heading into the postseason, and they still are.

Which is to say, it’s hard to see general manager Ray Shero firing Bylsma if the Pens lose to a very good Bruins team in the conference finals.

Just don’t expect today to be the last time the question is asked.

Related: Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

  1. maalea - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    “But I am now.”

    • polegojim - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Yep… with all that talent… probably so.

      Not that I think it’s totally fair to him… but… to whom much is given MUCH is demanded.

  2. northstarnic - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Really too bad they couldn’t pull off the win last night, if for nothing else but to make this an interesting series. Outplayed the Bruins for much of the game, especially that third-period. Just couldn’t get pucks past a stellar goaltender for Boston.

  3. GH - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    They won’t fire Dan Bylsma – regardless of whether or not they should – because at this point they’ve invested a lot of capital (both financial and “hockey capital”) in his system. Strong puck moving defensemen, grinding and skilled wingers with speed.

    There’s a set of strong puck moving defensemen coming up the ranks who will integrate into the line up across the next year or two and provided they can workout a long term agreement with Malkin this team is set up to remain a force* for several years beyond this one.

    * – this is all moot of course unless they get the goaltending piece figured out. Hopefully Hartzell can flourish but I’m not holding my breathe (even if they can resign him as an RFA this year).

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      I’m willing to bet they will part with him if they don’t win the SC. As you said he was given what he needed for his system and they failed. Many coaches had less than he did and were fired. The ultimate goal is to win the SC and he’s had the personnel to at least get them to the final since 2009.

  4. pirovash88 - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    What a shame, i hope they don’t fire Bylsma. I don’t think the coaching is the issue with this team.

  5. acuratech348 - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I agree, I think the Pens are a victim of they’re own devices. To me it seems like they went into this series believing all the hype about themselves and thought this was going to be a easy win. I’m a life long Bruins fan and i hate to admit it but i believed some of it and didn’t have a good feeling going in. The Pens have all the talent in the world, but the B’s are just simply out working them. Its gonna be an epic game 4

    • hockey412 - Jun 7, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      I actually disagree, especially with the “those guys came in believing all the hype” stuff – I think it’s completely disrespectful for ANY fan of any team to make that assumption. The game last night went into two OT’s…guys playing on broken legs and getting helmets ripped off and still keeping on trucking. Both teams played with heart, and it was amazing. As a Bruins fan to disrespected what the Bruins have done by saying ‘yeah the other team came in with the wrong mind-set’ is just silly.

      The Pens played up to the hype last game…I actually think they did in game 1 as well. The Bruins played better…and I may be one of the ONLY ones on here giving them credit for it. It wasn’t the fans, cheering them on…it wasn’t all the “hype” surrounding the Pens, it wasn’t who “wanted” it more. That last game could have gone either way – and after the game the Pens played, if it weren’t for RASK, they would have taken it.

      I’ve heard a lot of crap from B’s fans over the past few days – very little of it gives the proper attention to Rask. Without him, you’d not be where you are.

      • grilledjesus - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Rask has recieved plenty of attention, but to lay it all at his skates is wrong as well. He makes the saves he has to make and limits the rebounds for sure, but the Bruins defensive system clears the lanes so that Rask can see the shot. When he does give up a rebound one of the D’s are right there to clear it away. Strong, steady, consistant, but there’s only been a handful of times I’ve gasped at a save he’s made.

      • hockey412 - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Respectable comment – and I can see the point there.

  6. pastabelly - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Pittsburgh led the conference in points and won its first two rounds. It seems like the reason for firing a coach is that the team ran into a hot goaltender and a team whose core won the Stanley Cup two years ago. The only game that was really a no excuses, blame everyone game was Game 2.

  7. bleedrangerblue - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Your not beating Boston with all that luck that have going for them.

    • 3octaveFart - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      ..and refs. don’t forget the refs.

    • nunan - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Ranger fan

    • 19to77 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Weep Ranger blue, you mean?

  8. tripps3 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I think sometimes this happens when you have too many stars – they need more role players

  9. canucks30 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    If they don’t want him, we’ll take him

  10. icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    I just want to know one thing: who put together this team? It wasn’t that long ago that they won a SC. You would think that PIT would understand how to build a contender. They remind of my Flyers but with more talent. Very frustrating to root for teams like this.

  11. therealjr - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Their defense and goaltending simply isn’t as good as it was in those back-to-back finals appearances. You can cruise in the regular season but not in the playoffs. Iginla and Morrow were fancy names but didn’t fix anything.

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      3 (insert your own thought process) years ago they were fancy names. Now, they are just names.

    • stakex - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Thats true, but there are two things to consider.

      First, a lot of coaches get input on personel decisions. Bylsma might have a lot to do with why the Pens are all offense and no defense. He may have told Shero he wants scorers, not defensemen.

      Also, even if it is Shero’s fault and hes 100% behind player choices… he gets to blame the coach anyway. Glen Sather is famous for giving coaches hard teams to win with or signing big name free agents, only to fire the coach when things don’t work out. Don’t put it past Shero to do the same.

  12. latrobe21 - Jun 6, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Hopefully, Disco Dan is gone. Shero should have told him after the second game not to even get on the plane to Boston. Another 3 or 4 years of this bs and we’ll look back in amazement that Crosby, Malkin and the various talented supporting casts only won one Cup in their careers.

  13. c1md6 - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    “I was here in 2009” oh you mean therrian’s team that you inherited, but have yet o do anything with arguably the two best players in the league on te same team? Oh ok well at least you inherited a cup in 09 so all must be forgotten.

  14. stakex - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    I think Bylsma’s job is a lot less secure then most seem to think it is. Do I think he will be fired this offseason? Probably not. But when you have a team thats the favorite the win the Cup two years in a row and don’t even make it to the finals… the seat your are on is getting warm. The GM could well decide to give someone else a chance if next season gets off to a slow start.

    A couple things to consider:

    1. Bylsma playoff record with the Pens is 36-28… not that great. when you consider the team hes had and that there is a Cup run in there.

    2. The Pens have been picked as Cup favorites almost every year since they won the Cup, but have been past the 2nd round only (this year) in those four seasons… getting knocked out in the first round the last two years.

    3. Crosby and Malking aren’t getting younger. Their window for winning Cups gets smaller every year… and every season without a Cup has to be considered a failure.


    Bylsma was one of the luckiest new coaches in NHL histroy. He was handed a Cup capable team, and its stayed together pretty much for a five year period. Still though, he only has one finals appearence to show for it. I have been saying that the Pens lack of defense/goaltending will keep them from a Cup… and a large part of that is Bylsma’s offense only system. Some of it might also fall on the GM, but the GM isn’t going to fire himself.

    If next year gets a rocky start, or Shero is feeling frisky… its not hard to see Bylsma looking for a new job.

  15. jhuck92 - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    This brings up a good point: when the Pens choke, they choke hard. The flyers embarrassed them last year, and now they’re about to be swept

  16. capsfan19 - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Balysma is a fantastic coach! Especially seeing him in the locker room for the caps pens winter classic, wow talk about an even keel! The problem is the lack of discipline when facing teams that get under their skin.

  17. 8man - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    With all due respect, I think we should wait until the Pens are officially, if it happens, ousted from the playoffs before we begin to throw dirt on their season and their coach’s tenure with the team.

    Yes, I know it’s a long way back from 3-0 down. But you have to win four games. Whether it’s one every other game, back-to-back, three in a row or all four to get there, it matters little. The Pens won four in a row twice in the regular season. They also had a 15 game win streak. And they’ve won four in a row this post season. I think if the Bruins want to avoid a game 7, they need to be sure there ain’t a game 5.

    Just sayin’.

    • stakex - Jun 6, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      You want to believe there is hope for your team, and I respect that. I thought the same thing when the Rangers were down 3-0. Truth is though, the Pens are toast and the parade has already been canceled.

      • 8man - Jun 7, 2013 at 7:01 AM

        Actually, I’m rooting for the “other guys”. The same other guys that had a 3-0 lead against the Flyers in 2010 and a 3-1 lead against Toronto this year. There are no absolutes in playoff hockey. The Hockey Gods do not look kindly upon those who profess to know how things will unfold.

        All I’m saying is don’t start scheduling the Chicago/Boston finals until both teams win that game 4.

  18. jacketsfan7 - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    @8man I agree but we’ve scored 2 goals this series so far

  19. bleedrangerblue - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    No weep. We got beat. But I do know when a team has luck. The bruins have had fortunate bounces. Pitt hit the post what 5 times last nIght…..

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      And the Bruins didn’t hit the post? One astute commenter on here said, a post hit is just a miss with a dramatic noise.

    • captaincj35 - Jun 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Tukka Rask has stopped 108 of 110 shots so far in this series…

      Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Iginla and Letang have combined for… wait for it… wait for it… ZERO points in this series.

      That’s not luck… it’s a trend.

  20. crusty14 - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    It’s funny how guys say ” oh but the pens hit 5 posts lay night” the bruins hit posts as well as had several close calls, it goes both ways

    The bruins have luck? It isn’t luck that has kept the high flying penguins to 2 goals in 3 games! And it certainly wasn’t luck in dispatching the rangers in 5. The rangers were lucky it didn’t end in 4!!!

  21. 19to77 - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    There’s a first time for everything, Disco Dan.

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