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Report: Mario Lemieux may want Bylsma out

Jun 9, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Gary Bettman, Mario Lemieux Getty Images

Dan Bylsma’s future in Pittsburgh is in question after his team was swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post says Penguins owner Mario Lemieux could force GM Ray Shero’s hand into forcing out Bylsma.

Several individuals within the industry have told Slap Shots Penguins chairman Mario Lemieux, distressed by his team’s fourth straight failure to get out of the Eastern Conference after consecutive trips to the Finals in 2008 and 2009, the latter culminating with a Stanley Cup victory, may instruct Shero to dismiss the coach.

Yesterday we heard from Brooks how the Rangers would have instant interest in his services if Bylsma were fired. Throw this story into the mix and you might very well have a fire to go with the smoke.

Of course, all this speculation is coming out of New York City and not Pittsburgh itself. As it is, today is Pittsburgh’s locker clear-out day and if the Pens are going to let Bylsma go they might take time to decide on that.

Keep in mind, however, that Bylsma has one year left on his contract with the Pens. If the team feels a change could be needed eventually, doing so this summer wouldn’t be out of the question.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    If both reports are true then he’ll be the Rangers coach by about this time tomorrow.

    • stakex - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if Torts then ended up being the Pens coach? Boy wouldn’t that make for some great story lines.

      Before Pens fans freak out at that idea, think about it for a second. Torts is a no BS style coach, who has shown he can make a team play better defense. He had trouble getting a lot out of the Rangers offense but the Pens have a lot more to work with in that regard. I think he might be the style coach the Pens need to beat that whiny, crybaby, entitled attitude out of the Pens players. I think Bylsma is a little too soft in that area.

      • sebrebc - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        So you think that Tort, a coach who coached a talented team they way you would coach an expansion team full of scrubs, will be a good coach in Pitt? Come on, cut it out. The Penguins are a talented team, they are a tough team….they need a coach that can adapt. Look at what Julien has done with the Bruins. Want to play along the boards, the Bruins can do that….want to play open ice, the Bruins can do that. Rough and tumble…check, high flying, check. The Bruins can play any style and they change the way they approach any given opponent. That is what Pitt, and New York for that matter, need. Those are two very talented, very good teams that should have played much better in the playoffs. Granted many people don’t give the Bruins enough credit….but they shouldn’t have been able to walk all over the Pens and Rags they way they did.

      • hounds2013 - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Torts as coach would be awesome. He would put Crysby in his place.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    , I think he was the key reason why they lost, it’s not just that he couldn’t get their offender going, it almost like there was a cultural problem. They were way too cute with the puck, too many no look passes and maybe a lack of chemistry.

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Out coached

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Unlike that POS Bob Nutting owner of the Pirates…Mario Lemieux ACTUALLY cares about winning. Lemieux and all of Pittsburgh has the right to be frustrated with a fourth straight loss to a lower seed in the playoffs. Like I said in another post who do you replace Bylsma with? After having invested so much into his system in the NHL & AHL. Tough choices to make

    • stakex - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Well its not like Bylsma was using some sort of niche system or anything. The Pens are a pretty standard run and gun team, and a change of direction wouldn’t really be hard.

    • nhloon - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Maybe a lower seed, but not a lower team !!!!!! Pitt stinks, a bunch of pre madonna pink hats, Bruins made a JOKE of the pens bahahahaah, BAAHAHAHAHAHAHA Sid’s all washed up, Malkin is getting his own team, back to the bottom of the barrel Poopsburgh !!!!!!! BAHAHAHAAHAHAHA

  4. patthehockeyfan - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    If it’s true, only one thing needs saying:

    “If the boss doesn’t like or want you, it’s time to pack your bags.”

  5. gallyhatch - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I respect the hell out of Bylsma, and am still stunned at the outcome of this series (this will go down in history as a sweep, but those of us that were here for it will remember how close this series really was. A couple different bounces of the puck in games 3 or 4 and it’s a whole different series).

    If he gets the boot, he won’t be out of work for long.

    • nosefacekillah - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Really, a close series? The Pens NEVER lead, they were out scored 12-2, they were dominated at the face-off dot, they never threatened to be a factor in the series. If the Bruins got a few more shots in instead of the post the Bruins would have blown out the Pens in all four games.

      A sweep is a sweep and this one was never close.

      • dabigh - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        The Pens hit the post some 10 times, it was close except game 2! Then there is all the cheap shots your slimy team got away with, and lest not forget marchande intentionally ripping his stick across Sir Sydney skates, that is typically a game misconduct and 10 minute major, but was only a 2 minute. Your slimy cheap shot team is going to get OWNED by CHicago, big mouth!

      • gm4602009 - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        Even ask your coach Julien said this was a lot closer than the outcome showed. The Bruins couldn’t blow out a paper bag, what series did you watch? The scores even with the Pens not playing D were very low scoring…. Don’t post if your that out of touch with what happened

      • nosefacekillah - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        I have yet to see a 10 minute major. If there is one I am sure Cooke has gotten it.

        12 goals to 2. Darn, what a close series. Remember when pitts was leading after 40 minutes? What a close series! Game right down to the last 20 minutes to determine which team was going to the finals.

        Julien was polite in his praise for the pens. I am sure his private words were closer to “that’s all they had? That was too easy.”

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Bwaaahaa!! Hey Pens fans let me let you in on a little hockey secret. Hitting the post is the same as missing the net or getting your shot blocked by the goalie. Outscored 12-2, 0-15 on the PP. This series was an embarrassment to your club. Get over it and think towards next year,

      • fbothharbaughs - Jun 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        No, broadstreet…., an embarrassment is missing the playoffs in a league where over 50% of the teams participate…


      • mmmpierogi - Jun 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        “A sweep is a sweep and this one was never close.”

        You’re totally right. Four goals total by both teams over the last two games, one of which went to double OT. That’s pretty much the definition of “blowout.”

      • bakedbees - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:07 PM

        debaig, how many posts did the bruins hit in those same games? I think Jajr had him some 5, Boychuck, Seguin a couple…quit crying

      • elvispocomo - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

  6. hazlydose - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I wonder if Lemieux has a coach in mind that he wants to go after? You could use Grenato but he has a history of having his high seeded team make early playoff exits with the Avalanche. Alain Vigneault would be the same cute passing offensive mentality. I don’t think all the blame lies with Bylsma, but he has a portion of it and a change has to be made somewhere. My choice for his replacement would be Lindy Ruff.

    • hazlydose - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      He was an owner-player. Could he take it upon himself to be an owner-coach? If the rumors are true and Gretzky becomes the bench man for the Rangers it would make for an awesome show.

  7. te139 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Pittsburgh made it to the conference finals (granted they were swept). It’s very difficult in today’s NHL to make it that far every year. Why not place blame on the GM for adding more super star forwards instead of adding defensemen? Oh yeah, and their goalie situation was a joke even though Vokoun actually played half way decent. Boston is a much better team all around than Pittsburgh, and it obviously showed. Bruins will win the cup in 5 games.

    • 19to77 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      They, um… they DON’T make it that far every year. They drop in the first round more often than they advance.

  8. stakex - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    To say this sweep was Bylsma’s fault, and only his fault, would be incorrect. The players sucked, the GM made bad choices at the trade deadline, and Boston played really well.

    The problem for Bylsma though, is that this problem goes back longer then this year. Remember the embarrassing blowout at the hands of a so-so Flyers team last year, or the first round exit a year before? Since winning the Cup, the Pens are 20-21 in the playoffs… which is pretty sad considering the team they have. Yes, two years ago they played without Crosby and were knocked out of the first round in seven games, but the team was playing really well heading into the playoffs even without him. Throwing out his first year, Bylsma has had serious trouble getting the Pens to win during the playoffs for a while now… not just against Boston.

    In the end, I think hes out of a job. There’s just too much chatter about him being fired.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      “Since winning the Cup, the Pens are 20-21 in the playoffs”

      Reposted for wow factor.

      He’s also the quickest to 200 reg. season wins. Dan Bylsma’s **** doesn’t work in the playoffs?

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:12 PM


      • nhloon - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Pens lost to a better team. That’s it that’s all.

  9. bardown66 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Bylsma went stale, not a bad coach just time to move on. Please go after Tippett. We’d actually appreciate him here. He is the reason the coyotes have been relevant the last few years. Crosby would adapt to play any system. All I know is Lemieux is the greatest thing to ever happen to Pittsburgh sports. Some will argue Clemente but IMHO it’s Mario. In Lemieux we trust!!

  10. billyhauntswizards - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    for the love of god keep Bylsma so he doesn’t become the Rangers HC please please.

  11. thailer35 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Yeah, we actually appreciate Tippet here in Phoenix, jack@$$.

    And he’s already said he wants to stay here if at all possible.

    • bardown66 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Penguins could pay more and it’s a better team.

      • poonerman - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        And THAT is why people hate Pens fans and accuse the team of trying to buy success.

  12. stoopidfool - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Blame the coach for the star players vaginitis

  13. fitzcfitz - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Gary Roberts!!!! Would be an awesome Pens coach…

  14. isphet71 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    The Penguins just didn’t have the heart that the Bruins had this year. They got too old at the trade deadline and messed up their chemistry. Bylsma can’t go out there and win faceoffs or dig the puck out of the corner. He can just tell his players to do it and hope they go out there and make it happen. He’s partly responsible, but this is much more so on the players and their willingness to do whatever it takes to win.

    The Penguins players didn’t answer the bell when the Bruins started getting physical. They didn’t lay down and completely give up, but they weren’t willing on an individual level to raise their level of play to where it needed to be for them to compete with the Bruins this series. Crosby was reduced from arguably the best player in the world to whining, falling down, giving up, and losing. Malkin was neutralized. The goaltenders were exposed.

    Maybe Bylsma isn’t the right guy for the Penguins any longer, but that doesn’t make him a bad coach. The Penguins need someone that can make them play like men instead of playing like spoiled little boys that expect the cup to be given to them because they are so talented. Have to ask yourself if that attitude is really Bylsma’s fault. I’m wondering if there’s anyone in the world that can change the culture of the Penguins. Honestly, I don’t think so. Bylsma’s more of a scapegoat than anything in this case.

    • danaking - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Each of the Pens’ deadline deals brought a good player for virtually no cost; all of them together may have been too much. Shero tinkered with a team that had just won 15 games in a row and had the second best record in the league, a team that had won close games and track meets and did not lose in overtime during the regular season. Bylsma never seemed to know what to do with all those players. It wasn’t broke, and they fixed it until it was.

      The Pens need defensemen who have a commitment to playing defense; just moving the puck isn’t enough. Even Bylsma said letang plays his best when he thinks defense first, yet Bylsma was unable to get him to do it consistently. Remember, when Bylsma took what was essentially Michel Therrien’s team to the Cup ion 2009, the most of the defensemen were stay-at-home types: Orpik, Eaton, Hal Gill, and Rob Scuderi. Gonchar and Alex Goligoski were the puck movers/point men.

      Pittsburgh beat Boston three times during the regular season,. Julien made adjustments; Bylsma had no answers. He probably need to go.

      • thesportsjudge - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        Pittsburgh beat Boston three times during the regular season

        Doesn’t it seem likely the PENGUINS may have been the lucky ones in coming back in those games? When the games really mattered, they just couldn’t do it.

        Also, before I get a bunch of thumbs down, I am not saying Pittsburgh wasn’t a good team, they clearly were.

  15. dklml2 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I would feel really bad if Blysma got fired, but if you look over the four years since they won the Cup, there is something wrong — it is more than just physically poor play. First, in 2010, the Pens got upset by Montreal — including a horrible game 7 at home. Then in 2011 blowing a 3-1 games lead against Tampa. Then in 2012 the complete meltdown against Philly. And this year against Boston was maybe the worst playoff series in the history of the Penguins. I don’t know what the problem is, but there is one. It is one thing to lose a series — they can’t win the Cup every year. But the WAY they are losing. What is going on?

  16. vipod4ever - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Bruins cheapshots??? Matt Cooke approves this message….give me a break….lmfao

  17. agc99 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Bye bye Disco Dan

  18. irokkit - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I love how teams, media and us bloggers over react.
    When a team wins it’s the players. When loose its the coach.
    On that note…Can his butt now!!!
    And in my world, it is soley based on his interviews after game 1 thru 4.
    The guy seemed out of touch, out of control. He kept referring to game played yesterday…there was no game played yesterday at the time of those interviews!
    Wow….where was that guy?
    Out of touch, out of control, out of time,
    OUT OF WORK!!!!

    Maybe the Islanders will hire him as co-owner. Lol
    They do messed up stuff over there in that organization

  19. steelers88 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I keep going back and forth on this I’m about 50/50. The reasons why Byslma should stay is: It wasn’t his fault that Flurey had another meltdown and it wasn’t his fault that the two best players in the NHL played like crap. The reasons why he should be fired: His had the best team going into the playoffs the last 4 years and they haven’t made it to the cup final. He got out coached again. His team had another meltdown.

    • dpj1022 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Could be that “the 2 best players in the nhl” arent the 2 best players in the nhl

      • holeecowman - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        you forgot anymore

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      As a nonfan of the Pens, it would seem to be the problem is the GM is more interested in getting the shiny pieces. With the way their season ended last year basically a shootout at the O K Corral, I would want as a fan the GM to fix the defensive problems. Sure it is nice to score 6 goals a game, but not at the expense of being forced to because you are routinely giving up 5. The only pass I give the GM is he did apparently get a quality “backup” goaltender last year in Vokoun. I thought he had a solid series.

  20. dpj1022 - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Rather than bylsma, look at the players including the golden boy. Boston roughed them up a bit and they turtled. It is a team that has obvious flaws. As for lemeuix, i just hope he starts sticking his nose in. If he does pittsburgh will be a mess for years

  21. jonkchar - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    As a Pens fan, I would look at trading Crosby and making Malkin the C. I know that will never happen though

    • danaking - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Oh, please.

    • onesimus57 - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Are you high? Did you really think through your comment before you posted this idiotic statement?

    • holeecowman - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      lol malkin to the khl nit wit

  22. titansbro - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM


  23. kingsforever - Jun 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Okayyyy all knowing Mario, whatever you say

  24. onesimus57 - Jun 9, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    The Penguins face a real complex dilemma. The problem that the Penguins face is an age long balancing act between coaches and players. Many coaches cannot find the right combination the very successful ones do. Dan (IMO) is in that process. This is the balance between running a disciplined program that requires respect for the coach and the system and being a personable coach who cares about his players.

    If you run a program that is too disciplined players hate you & this day and age players whine and eventually rebel. If you run a program that is focused on being a nice guy…. players fail to execute to the level that goes beyond individual tallent. In both instances – they will eventually get canned. There is a long list of both……. The ones who find the balance are few but they have really great programs. Mike Babcock for example.

    The Penguins are a VERY talented team and they have a VERY nice coach. Players love him…. Fans love him…. but they fail to produce LT winning programs. The simple reality is the Penguins are not a disciplined team and they cave when they get to the playoffs because they rely too much on pure tallent as opposed to hard work. The fact is that they stuck with certain offensive assumptions that never worked and they did not adjust. In all honesty, I also think they are a small team comparatively….. they struggle because they do not have enough size up front with forwards who are big and play big. Their fore-check is abysmal.

    No one could figure out what in the world they were doing with the scratches for personnel before every game shuffle in shuffle out…. it is a real mystery. I have to say that he made the right call with Fluery/Vokoun. Other than that….. Go figure.

    With the team as it is currently composed – they need a coach who brings more discipline and structure. Can Dan adjust to be more structured & disciplined? A shift of this magnitude would be very difficult in the same environment…. Hate to say it… but I really don’t think it is possible. BUT I WOULD NEVER fire him until I knew with absolute certainty the next guy has this proven balance & technical knowledge.

  25. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    I became very critical of coach B after game 1 vs the B’s. I thought he missed out on the opportunity to take advantage of home ice to get Crosby away from Bergeron.

    After game 2 i wrote the following;
    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Jun 4, 2013 at 7:49 AM
    What an abysmal performance by Crosby and the rest of the Pens, including Bylsma who is completely out coached by coach J from the opening office to the final whistle.

    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Jun 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM
    Coach B has lost the pulse of the team, and they are on life support.

    And after game three I was convinced he had to go.

    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Jun 6, 2013 at 6:11 AM
    and you’ll probably be getting a new coach next year, and may lose Fleury.

    And reiterated the Pens needed a new bench boss after being eliminated.

    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Jun 7, 2013 at 11:33 PM
    Firstly, it was a fun game to watch from a fan’s perspective, but horrible for the coaches. Too many mistakes by both teams. Bylsma has to go. Earkins, Vigneault, Ruff, Torts, Boucher….. Start interviewing, Rejean. .

    All this to say I expect him to be fired, otherwise the Pens will lose a year if they allow him to finish out his contract. Rangers want him, then cut him loose. Lemieux is a stubborn guy and usually gets his way. He’s a winner, and clearly his team has been anything but that since 09. Shelf life for coach B is up.

    • poonerman - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      If you’re saving all your posts, you’re spending way too much time here.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:19 AM

        Nah! PHT saves all our posts.

  26. doni609 - Jun 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Such a total collapse by a genuinely talented team. Bylsma just doesn’t seem able to make corrections to the game plan when the heat is on. (I might say that he’s not the only coach of a great team in the Burgh with that problem; sorry Mike) It was truly painful to watch Boston sweep our Pens. It was very obvious after the embarrassment in Game 2 on home ice where the series was headed. The better coached team truly won this series……ahhh, the goal tending contributed just a bit also (LOL)! Hats off to the Boston Bruins; they dug deep and seriously kicked some butt!

  27. holeecowman - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    lets just get this straight…. the penguins lost period!! so what… now theyre calling the bruins the cheap shot team…. huh what, yea there were some from both teams, but Pittsburgh is by far the dirtiest, cheapest tem in the league. those fraudulent fans over there in pitt think they deserve the cup every frigging year, um NO this hockey. not your xbox, wii, or your ps3. now they all cry just like miss cindy who placed the blame everywhere but him self. and now on the verge of losing malkin to the khl, lol. you stacked your team with to many stars just to fall short how ironic imo im lmao.
    this is the start of your ending penguins your on the slippery slope now lol going down and will be filing chapter 11 in 2 yrs because your fans have left you yet again. heres to another soon to be run by the nhl team might as well call it coyotes east in 2 yrs I know that makes no sense but I dgaf
    thank you bruins for taking out this ignorant team.

    • onesimus57 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Idiotic dribble…… if you can’t contribute cogent well reasoned posts…. just go watch MSNBC. You can see lots of idiotic dribble there.

  28. holeecowman - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    is gary playing a$$ grab with Mario in that pic I wouldn’t be shocked at all

  29. holeecowman - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    these pens fans are brutal, they also have a church named for cindy and worship a terd that was left in his toilet (cindy terd), and a used dildo found in cindys old college apartment drop ceiling. they both sit at the center of the alter with a picture of cindy right in the middle of them.

    • onesimus57 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Take you rude and absurd comments elsewhere. Your IQ hovers in single digits.

  30. thesportsjudge - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Could it be that Bylsma got too much credit for winning the Stanley Cup too soon? I read on another post someone saying it was Therien’s system that basically won them the Cup.

  31. 2jivecrew - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Larry Brooks? Yeah, there’s a guy who’s plugged into the inner working of the Penguins organization. lol

    Funny, not a peep of this from the media guys in Pittsburgh who DO have connections to the FO. Brooks is the Don Cherry of print journalism.

  32. jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Somebody in the Penguins organization has to get the axe. Just the way it is. Captain Obvious, out!

  33. jax2626 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    While I’m a huge fam of Lemieux as a player, lets remember that it took them 15 season after winning their cup in 92 to get back to the Stanley Cup finals with Lemieux playing in the majority of them. I know that he’s competitive but the reality is that there are alot of things that go into a cup win – from talent to coaching to momentum to just plain luck. If it was that easy then why couldn’t he get his team back there?

  34. amityvillefun - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    It’s the JAGR curse!

    Bruins are helping to open up a few coaching opportunities this post season.

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