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Bylsma given two-year contract extension

Jun 12, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT


The Pittsburgh Penguins have given head coach Dan Bylsma a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2015-16 season, general manager Ray Shero announced today.

“I believe in Dan Bylsma and I believe in stability with our coaching staff,” Shero said in a release. “Dan is one of the top coaches in the NHL. His record speaks for itself. We fell short of our goal this year, and we’re all disappointed in that, but I believe – and our ownership believes – that Dan is the man to lead us into the future.”

The club also extended the contracts of assistant coaches Tony Granato and Todd Reirden.

Bylsma’s new deal comes after no shortage of speculation about his job security following the Penguins’ four-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.

The New York Rangers were one team that was believed to be waiting for the Penguins to decide on Bylsma’s future. Former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and ex-Sabres bench boss Lindy Ruff remain among the favorites to replace John Tortorella.

  1. bardown66 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    No more of this happy to be competitive attitude. After they finally got back in the post season in 07 it went out the window. Anything less than winning it all is a total failure, the ECF was a joke. I can still hope fleury is moved and they finally let the younger defenseman step in and be a big part. PS PLAY BEAU BENNETT! For the love of god!

    • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      I think saying that ‘anything short of winning it all is a complete failure’ makes sense in theory – but I can’t disagree more when you are talking about a coaching decision.

      • stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        That’s true. Lets face it, in any given year there are between 4-8 teams that have a very good chance of winning the cup… and only one of them can. If you lose to a good team deep in the playoffs, perhaps making a coaching change is a bad idea.

        However when it comes to Bylsma, its not just this one year. Since winning the cup his post-season record is bellow .500. Last season and again this year he was out coached and failed to get the most of his players in the playoffs. That’s a problem. Any moron should be able to light it up in the regular season with the team the Pens have, but its getting everything you can out of your players in the playoffs… and Bylsma has struggled with that for the last four years.

  2. hockey412 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I am one of Bylsma’s biggest critics for lack of changing his game plan when it’s needed – but yeah, he deserves the extention. Therien is a good example of having the wrong coach…Bylsma’s ok.

  3. jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Shero was quoted “Looking forward to seeing the same PP, same stretch passes, no in game adjustments and another early round exit…”

    Then added the following, “Exited to see Bylsma make an actual IN-GAME adjustment(s). He took a big step this year with making game adjustments, let’s hope that actually continues and he can make an adjustment or two between periods.”

  4. jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    For the record Therien got a 3 year extension in 08, just saying.

    • stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      And John Tortorella was signed to a two year extension in the middle of this season. Just because you keep the coach doesn’t mean he won’t be fired if things take the slightest bad turn.

  5. tmoore4075 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    26 other teams would have loved to be in the conference finals. The Hawks had disappointing years after their Cup too and look at where they are now. If he doesn’t win it or get to the Finals in the next couple of years then he’ll be gone but he deserved the extension. And who you gonna get that’s for sure better? Torts? AV? Ruff? Some minor league guy who hasn’t proven anything yet?

    • jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Tippett, assuming he doesn’t resign in Phoenix.

      • tmoore4075 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        That’s a big gamble though with that being very uncertain. If Tippet was for sure available, maybe but again big gamble if you do it now.

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      “26 other teams would have loved to be in the conference finals” – yes, but most of them would also dream of such a potent roster, especially after the loading up at the trade deadline.

      • tmoore4075 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Sure but other teams were contenders and loaded up (although maybe not to the extent) and failed too. 27 teams haven’t won the Cup since 09. I just don’t think they get someone better right now, of the guys currently available. I don’t put 2011 on him with the injuries they had and someone above said he was out coached last year. I’m not sure that matters with Fleury giving up goals from everywhere.

      • mordock57 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        Fleury was tied for second most wins in the NHL this season. And even during a full regular season, he’s usually top three in wins. “Giving up goals from everywhere” is a huge distortion in fact.

  6. valoisvipers - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    I thought they would have canned him for not being able to make adjustments to break threw the Bruins 1-4 system.

  7. GH - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    This is an extension to make him NOT a lame duck coach from a contracting perspective which I understand, but it doesn’t guarantee anything as Therien’s extension is evidence of. I think this extension came with an understanding that the status quo is not sufficient.

    With that said this is the right move – I don’t know that I would prefer to have any of the existing coaches on the market over Bylsma.

  8. orangandblack - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Smart move. Especially with the news from New York that the Rangers would pounce if he was let go. The guy is a good coach. Like it’s been said 100 times, the Boston series was not a 4-0 series.

    • bman7206 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      No it was. It was a 4-0 series win. You didn’t watch?

    • pastabelly - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Not 4-0. Are you going to tell us next that they scored more than two goals in that series?

    • massconn72 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      It just looked that way?

    • drone501 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      if they don’t make it past the finals, he’s gone at this time next year. but winning a cup is not an easy task to do. you have injuries, run into hot goalies. wait and see.

      • killerpgh - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        Considering the Finals are the last round its kind of hard to make it past the finals.

  9. bgrillz - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    The Pens were snake bitten quite a bit in that series. Every Bruin to a man has admitted as much that all the bounces went their way, and Julien said this was not a 4-0 series. They played well, just couldn’t get one to go in when needed. This is not a coaching issue. If they had lost to the Isles and he didn’t make a goalie change, then yes, you’d have a gripe. They just ran into a motivated Boston team, who kind of has that destiny look where everything goes their way. All you have to do is look at round 1 game 7 for evidence of this.If they come out and start stinking it up halfway through the season, then he’ll probably get Therriened. But the coaching and system did not lead to this loss.

    • stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Failure to adjust the system certainly helped. When it was clear that Boston was shutting down the stars, the Pens made little effort to change things and try to find Malkin/Crosby space…. even at home with last change.

      Bylsma looks like a great coach against weaker teams. He just has to tell the stars to go out and do their things. When they run into teams that have a plan to shut his top players down however, and teams in the playoffs have learned how to do it, he has no response. Its happened the last four seasons now.

      • miketoasty - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        That’s what I didn’t understand, when you are at home and you see Chara or Bergeron on the ice, sit Malkin and Crosby, for some reason Bylsma just loves pairing lines with the other team, why not put Crosby out there against the grinders? He may take a couple extra hits but he’s going to have more room than if he was going up against Chara.

      • killerpgh - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:16 PM

        Last year against the Flyers Crosby and Malkin each had 8 points. They combined for 16 points in 6 games and you are trying to tell us they got shut down.

  10. jpelle82 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    this is probably meant to send a message to the players more than anything. this tells the players that there is no doubt going forward who will be your coach and what your expectations are. a 2 yr extension doesnt mean he has any sort of impunity if things start falling apart.

  11. burgh916 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    What’s next? Fleury gets a raise?

    • pensfanintx - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Fleury got them to the playoffs; unfortunately, that is when he loses his nerve. Voukon stepped in. That is why you have two goalies. Besides, neither goalie lost the playoffs…it was lack of scoring points. Remember, the goalie is the LAST line of defense for the team, and many times that means 2, 3 or 4 on one. Yes, they are professionals, but how many of you have played that position at that level of play? Major changes is not the answer when you only came up 8 games short.

      Stop trying to find a scapegoat and just admit that the Pens ran into a brick wall called Boston. Just like the other teams ran into a brick wall call the Pittsburgh Pens. I love this team, I am just as disappointed as if I were right there in the middle of it at Console Center. However, we have to admit destiny was not ours this year. George Steinbrenner tried to buy championships it does not always work out that way.

      • burgh916 - Jun 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        “Fleury got them to the playoffs.”
        Considering him and Vokoun split about 50-50 I’d say that’s not entirely true.

        “unfortunately, that is when he loses his nerve.”
        Now that is entirely true haha.

        “Voukon stepped in. That is why you have two goalies.”
        Well, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but remind me how many teams in the playoffs completely abandoned ship from their “starting goalie” because he was single-handily running their season down the drain? I believe 0.
        Vokoun was our playoff MVP by a long shot. He made gigantic saves, and either gobbled up rebounds, or directed them away from traffic. Fleury allows the first opportunities and our team can’t play comfortably in front of him, especially in the playoffs.

        You are assuming entirely too much in a post of mine just stating “What’s next? Fleury getting a raise?” I did not once discredit Boston or how strongly they played us. What I am stating is Bylsma did NOT adjust any of the teams strategy, and he hasn’t done it for quite a few playoffs. We definitely weren’t a team to get swept, and when you are clear runaway favorites to win the cup (multiple seasons in a row mind you.) and you fail in such a way, yet change nothing? What’s the point of that? Bylsma did absolutely nothing to try and adjust our gameplan other than “Hey lets put in Kennedy this game, hey lets put in Vitale… Lets switch the lines.” Absolutely nothing about strategy. Hell, having a few bodies in front of the net could have changed our luck entirely, instead he kept us in an umbrella shooting from anywhere.
        The leash should be extremely tight, and Fleury should already be on his way out. In any case, if they aren’t I’m not expecting much other than more regular season success, and playoff failings.

  12. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM


  13. bman7206 - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Wow what a stiff. He’s been given and all star team on paper for years and has been smoked in the playoffs. Not to mention totally outcoached last series vs the Bruins. Awesome work.

    • drone501 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      get a hold of yourself. you guys were lucky toronto turtled on the bruins. you should be home also.

      • mordock57 - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Truer words have never been spoken. And if Toronto learns to hold on for that extra couple minutes… the Pens are EASILY in the Finals right now. Boston fans have really short memories.

  14. stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    As a Rangers fan who can’t stand the Pens, this is a great move. First of all I didn’t want Bylsma to end up as the Rangers coach since he isn’t actually a good coach (he just has a very good team), and this move makes it unlike the Pens will win a cup any time soon.

    Look, anyone could probably coach the Pens to dominance when everything is going well. They have a stacked team right now on offense, and their lack of goaltending/defense really isn’t an issue in the regular season. All Bylsma has to do is open the door and let his players do their thing. The problems in his coaching ability become clear when things start falling apart. Last year, and again this year, the Flyers and Boston were able to make the Pens play their game. The Pens were probably the better team heading into both series, but Bylsma was unable to keep his players disciplined and playing their own game. That’s a serious problem because you will never win a cup unless you can get your players to stick to the game plan… and Bylsma has huge trouble with that.

    Why then did the Pens chose to keep him? Who knows, but rest assured Bylsma has a short leash right now. He might have gotten a reprieve this time, but its probably the last. If the Pens have a rough start to the season he will be packing his bags in a hurry.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      he took the same team that therrien sunk and won a cup with them – without hossa. he also made the change to vokoun early enough to get them through 2 rounds this year, something he didnt do against philly last year. he’s got some of the most talented players on the planet which can be a blessing and a curse, ask boudreau and hunter about making that work. he’s not a bad coach – the pens ran into a good team this year thats probably taking the cup home for the 2nd time in 3 years

      • stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:38 PM

        Two things: Therrien took that same team to game six of the Stanly Cup finals the year before they won it, and Bylsma didn’t have time to get his own system in place…. he was still using the more balanced style of play that Therrien employed. Ever since Bylsma’s system was put into full force, and the Pens started making roster moves based on it, the Pens haven’t been a threat to win the Cup.

        Also, there are 30 coaches in the NHL who would have changed goalies in that Islanders series. Fleury was terrible, and Bylsma shouldn’t be hailed as a hero for making a move that was nothing but a layup.

    • blackfoot11 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      @stakex…how convenient is your argument that when a team wins a Cup, its the players, and when they lose a series in the post-season, its the Coach. Fact is Bylsma coach the Pens to the Cup. It might be 4 years ago, but he did it. Pens coaching staff and players deserve equal blame for the post-season disappointment. Not just Bylsma.

      • stakex - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:57 PM

        I never said the players weren’t also to blame. The GM is too. It takes more then one person to pull off a choke job of such epic proportions two years in a row.

        Its what Bylsma has done wrong that’s the problem. There is simply no way around the fact that the last two playoffs have seem him out coached and losing in embarrassing fashion to teams they could have beat. At home Bylsma made no effort to get Malkin/Crosby more space, didn’t juggle lines that were struggling and ineffective, and he couldn’t keep his players disciplined and sticking with their game plan. Some of that’s on the players, but its also on the coach… and you can’t fire all the players.

        Again, when things are going good… Bylsma is fine. Things went good for almost the entire 2009 playoffs when they won the Cup. The problem is that teams have hit on ways to shut his system down, and two years in a row he has had no response. He just laid down and took the beating. You want a guy like that coaching your favorite team? More power to the rest of us.

  15. myspaceyourface - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I’m a bit surprised by this.

  16. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    “We fell short of our goal this year”. And last year, the year before that, and the year before that. All this adds up to FAILURE! A 2 year extension is far from a vote of confidence.

  17. supercoop8 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I was kind of intrigued by the Bylsma Rangers rumors and that’s done,

  18. massconn72 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM


  19. r4n6er - Jun 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Don’t worry GM Gillis “believed” in AV and gave him a 3 year extension, they they fired him…

  20. 24/7 Hockey - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    Have a feeling this will be a move Pittsburgh comes to regret. After all how much has bylsma really accomplished since wining the cup? Sure he has made the playoffs each year but they haven’t even made it back to the cup or won a game in the conference finals since then. With this roster making it to the playoffs is not enough and a change would be good to spice things up and provide someone who would actually make a change when the team is struggling. Bylsma is not that guy and the penguins will soon realize that when they go on to fire him and are on the hook for his salary and another head coaches who can actually man up and make changes.

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