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Sunday column: Bylsma on hot seat? Uh, no

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column wonders how Dan Bylsma could possibly be on the hot seat … then finds that he isn’t on any such thing. And won’t be.

Look forward to your feedback, as always.

Full-scale bloggage returns with the Monday Wakeup Call.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Glen says:

    Will the NHL’s best general manager get blamed if this team falls short?

    Ha!

    So tell me now: Why would Bylsma?

    —–

    Because Bylsma has all the options any coach could hope for, Dejan. Going into the playoffs, while there are some lingering doubts about injured players, first of all Sid, the Pens have by far the strongest roster in the league, and any coach who has that – after seeing teams that were favored to win lose early three years on the trot – cannot be considered a holy cow if they fail with THIS roster. Shero went all-in and gave up significant futures. Failure is unacceptable this year. Anything other than a trip to the final is failure.

    Add that the reason they would be failing would likely be him. Arguably again. Because who else is ultimately responsible for making zero adjustments to the PK that lost against Philly? Giroux with a world of time out of the corner every time. Open cross ice feed virtually every time. Who else never got a handle on how to beat Montreal’s system of clogging up the middle? Yes, Marc Andre Fleury sucked in both those series, but still adjustments had to be made. Defenders played terrible you say, well, we had other options. Martin played injured by the end last year and was so bad Shero asked if he wanted to be traded. Yet Despres who played very well at the end of the seaosn and in the playoffs still sat until Martin simply couldn’t go on.

    Bylsma’s vet preference is a problem and he will keep his favorites in to a fault. You’ll likely see it again this year where anyone who has actually watched can tell that Bennett is just superior to Tanner Glass (and TK).

    Imagine Bennett Jokinen Adams on the 4th with Sid/Malkin rotating to take some of Adams shifts and making our 4th line another 1st (the third such on the team, like in ’09. Can’t happen if Glass is also there.

    Another case last year was Vitale who was great in the playoffs when he was playing and his faceoffs helped big time as they have this year. Yet despite being a phenomenal PK’er for WBS and in college he wasn’t tried against Philly, and we’ve had to wait app 40 games even this season where our PK has consistently been bottom 10 while seeing oodles of goals scored against us on the PK right after faceoff losses. He prefers Tanner Glass there…. I mean what is this? Vitale is better at everything. Even hitting although he doesn’t do it with the same frequency. But he is not a vet….

    This season, who other than Bylsma would even consider moving Iginla to left wing after he has been a perennial all star on the right in his storied career, having him look hardly an NHL player outside of the PP? Who? “Worked with Neal, must work again”…. Who would insist on having Tanner Glass play EVERY game of the season despite being one of our worst players defensively and clearly the worst offensively? We now see a Glass Adams Kennedy line that makes it likely that he will be sitting Bennett also when Crosby is back. This despite Kennedy having had a terrible season and Bennett looking better in every aspect of the game. I mean… for those who cannot see it … just look at ANY stat. It jumps out.

    Until Malkin first got injured, he had been saddled with the collection of LW options who LEAST fit what he needs in a third wheel, and the only option that looked a little like being a solution, Bennett, was scratched upon playing his one game with that line, a game where the line uncharacteristically looked very good 5 on 5. Dan has continued to fuck Geno up in terms of the fits on his line, and then we see what happens with Kunitz Malkin Neal reunited. If it wasn’t for their explosion tonight, I would be certain that Dan would choose Kunitz Sid Dupuis and Iginla Malkin Neal, the second line being just a waste, as Iginla and Neal both are triggermen who cannot help with Geno’s relative weakness/inconsistency on the boards. Then again, he might still do just that, and if he does I hope he gets a nudge from Ray or even Mario.

    I like Bylsma in many ways, I really do. He is great at getting the room together and his interpretation of ‘our game’ conceivably does a lot to help the team overcome. But he is supremely stubborn and with this team no one cares that they are a good/great regular season team and can overcome injuries. They need to get it done in the playoffs, and if they don’t … it is not going to be because they didn’t have the horses. It is going to be because the coach consistently struggles with matchups and adjustments. Just look how we are against the Devils and how we continue to force the stretch passes and chips on the wall that they are prepared for taking away. During a series, opponent coaches plan harder for you than for regular season games, and every opponent will have the book ready. We are more than good enough to overcome it, but only if the team uses its immense variety.

    And in very short … if this Pens team doesn’t make the final, Bylsma should be sacked. Coaches have a short life span for a reason, and Bylsma has already been a Pens coach longer than anyone. Four failures in a row would be too much, and while he cannot be blamed for losing when deprived of both Sid and Geno against Tampa, having been up 3-1 in the series, it was still a failure.

    Again – compare with any other team in the league, yes … including Chicago… and the Pens have a clearly superior roster. Screw up that, following these last three years, and even forgetting his visible warts from this season, you gotta can Bylsma just on the risk that he has been the one to blame all along.

    Br. Glen
    Pens fan in Chinese exile

    DK: Welcome, Glen in China! Wonderful entry. Hope to hear from you throughout these upcoming playoffs.

    And thank you for reading — and considering — the column.

  2. T.S. says:

    Wholeheartedly agree with you, Glen. And come playoff time, Tyler Kennedy and Tanner Glass should get the royal treatment. As they watch from the press box. No way in hell, Bylsma should play those guys. Beau Bennett needs to be in the lineup. As does Simon Despres, over Engelland.

  3. Deb says:

    I would like to make a couple of points.

    First, let’s not read too much into the blowout against Carolina. Carolina is not a playoff team, and neither team was paying much attention to defense. So cries of “Geno’s/Neal’s return to form ” needs to be treated with skepticism. Let’s see how they do against a playoff caliber team before we get too excited.

    Secondly, I agree with Glen. Bylsma is indeed the central weakness of the team, second only to Geno’s lapses in attention to defense. The Pen’s must overcome both Bylsma’s propensity for stubbornly sticking with a failing strategy, and deploying players based on seniority rather than skill, performance, or team contribution, and Geno’s lapses if they are to win a cup.

  4. footballpenguin says:

    Well written Glen. Gave opinion and facts to support. Agreed.

  5. Dave says:

    Gotta agree with Glen. Some things I’d like to see:

    1) Play in front of Fleury like he’s a backup. Pens can be stifling defensively, but get lax when Fleury is in net because he has the ability to bail them out.

    2) Orpik needs to stay in front of the net. When he chases guys to the corner or behind the net to hit, he’s opening up a 2-on-1 in front of the net. (any forward playing with Orpik on the ice needs to be ready to support him when he does go for the hit)

    3) Keep Your Heads (looking at you Kunitz, Neal, Malkin). Whether its the Isles or Sens, there’s gonna be some blood, some cheap stuff, some late stuff. No one has ever stopped being a pest because they got slashed in the shinpad after the whistle. Pens should re-watch tape of how Gill handled Avery.

    4) If Glass doesn’t hit everything that moves on the forecheck, Bennett should play. Bennett is obviously better, but Glass should have a bigger impact in a series than in the season IF he hits a lot (especially finishes every check on Karlsson/Gonchar)

    5) Agressive PK

    6) Malkin mirroring Iggy on the PP. Just let it rip, boys.

  6. kr70 says:

    Great Idea to get writers from other cities to profile their teams!

    Of all the great pick-ups Ray has made, Jussi Jokinen has done as well or better than all the others. Plays center and wing and is as good on a faceoff as anyone on the team. Can’t wait for Wednesday!

  7. Paul Adomshick says:

    Glen is right on the money. Anything less than an appearance in the finals (barring massive injuries) is a failure on Dan’s part. Dan is definitely stubborn about sticking with “his” favorites – Engelland, TK and Glass – despite the evidence that Bennett and Despres are superior. I understand the instinct to not trust rookies, and neither should be on the ice in the 3rd period of a game 7. Not playing them in that situation is perfectly reasonable, considering all of the other available talent on the first 3 lines and the first two defensive pairings. However, the best chance to win comes from playing your best players through a full series, and Dan doesn’t always do that. If he doesn’t, he’s the reason that the Penguins can lose. If they do get knocked out before the finals, he must go.

    That being said, the team is stacked, and he’s shown some more ability to adapt than in the past. If he’s learned from his mistakes (at least some of them), the Penguins will win, and this whole discussion will be rendered moot.

  8. Jacques G says:

    Gotta agree with TR… err, Glen on this one. Good post. Perhaps the most frustrating part of all this has been watching it continue for the entire regular season, and seeing no indication that it will change in the post season.

  9. Sarah says:

    Brilliant post, Glen.

    Takes some fortitude around here to criticize Bylsma.

  10. Drew71 says:

    If the Pens win the cup this year, will those who have questioned Bylsma (often fairly) give him a share of the credit, or will the sentiment be “he should have…any decent coach with that collection of talent…Shero put him in a position from which he couldn’t fail.”

    If the Pens will the conference but lose in the finals, will a rink full of blame fall to Bylsma, or be spread around, or will there be disappointment mixed with respect for a great regular season and deep playoff run?

  11. Drew71 says:

    Well written and first into the fire, Glen. I don’t agree with some of it, but that is what a blog is for.

    Here’s why on the don’t thing.

    As Dejan wrote:

    “But this season’s got a very different feel in that regard.
    Adjustments have been made”
    when they hadn’t so much in the past. (my add-on)

    Roughly half your points are about this season. Fine.

    The other half are about performance in decisions in the past seasons and other playoff runs.

    Unless the point is, he should not have been welcomed back to coach THIS season, and no result this season forgives LAST, then I think the points you raise about Bylsma’s PAST inflexibility help make Dejan’s point that “this season’s got a very different feel in that regard. Adjustments have been made.”.

    Glen, still, well written and welcome. We haven’t interacted before, but just for the record, if you read my Pirates-Soccer-Manitoba-”Drew Hates Me” stuff, you’d know I am not on auto-pilot-Dejan-support.

    I think the criticism of Bylsma of past inflexibility is fair. I think he has been much more flexible this season.

  12. Drew71 says:

    oops on the bold for the last two paragraphs.

    (and ps. I don’t write pitt stuff, because pitt doesn’t actually exist)

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    Professionally, I’ve coined this phrase – “Longevity does not equal success”. Just because you have been doing something for so long, does not mean you are better than another person at doing the same job.

    When you hold others and yourself accountable for the actions of a team, then success is measured at the team level. To think a General Manager can go out and collect the amount of talent that he has and not have any accountability for the man responsible to make it work, really isn’t a strong way to run a business or team.

    I’m going to continue to maintain that no NHL head coach has had the amount of talent to work with than Dan Bylsma and after three straight disappointing playoff performances, there should be some level of accountability awaiting Bylsma if this team does not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, just as there will be for the players on the roster.

  14. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma has made some adjustments this year but I want to see it in the playoffs.

    This team has to make the finals, I’m not going to change that now just because he’s coaching the equivalent of an All-Star team.

  15. Drew71 says:

    I think your first point is a fair one. Said another way, if I am going to discount PAST inflexibility as I have because of a CURRENT demonstration of flexibility, then I should also expect that flexibility to continue in the FUTURE when it counts most.
    - In other words, AGREED.

    On your second point, note that both of my scenarios include the Pens making the finals…winning one, losing the other, but finals in each projection. So yes, I would ALSO be hugely disappointed if this team does not make the finals.
    - In other words, AGREED.

    Weird, huh?

  16. Eric Bowser says:

    Drew – Are you feeling ok?

    And I don’t think it a decision will need to be made because I believe this team make the Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

  17. Drew71 says:

    I think so, but remember, I drink.

    Blackhawks look like they did at the season’s start.

    That said, I’m also not sleeping on Anaheim. Granted, they’ve been mediocre of late. Is that a bad sign for them, or more a reflection of being locked into the 2nd spot in the west for weeks? I guess we’ll find out. But a month or so ago, they looked like one of the Big Three.

  18. Eric Bowser says:

    In the East, I honestly can’t see anyone beating a healthy Penguins team. If Fleury falters, they have Vokoun. If Crosby can’t start, they have Jokinen to fill in. If Orpik can’t go, they have one of Eaton and Despres to fill in. They are so deep, so talented, Kennedy will be probably be a healthy scratch when Crosby plays.

    But out West, I think Chicago is the best team and like you said, Anaheim is pretty good and I can’t write off Los Angeles as they have a good team as well. Chicago and LA would give the Penguins a pretty good run but I don’t think the Ducks present much of a challenge as they are top heavy and weak down the middle after Ryan Getzlaf.

  19. Iceman says:

    Great post Glen. I don’t agree with it all, but lots of good stuff their. I do feel as though DB has been willing to adjust more this year than in past years. This should be beneficial moving into the playoffs.
    Regarding TK, I agree with others that he should not play above Bennett. Bennett brings the offensive skill, vision, and puck handling that Kennedy has been superiorly lacking this year.

    I don’t know if I agree with everyone else regarding Glass though. With him and Adams hitting as hard and consistently as they have been, they are contributing to tiring out be other teams which is huge in the playoffs when you are playing the same team.

    On the defensive side, if Orpik can go, neither Engelland or Despres will play baring injuries. They have three pairs that work great with one defensive minded player and one player with a bit more offensive skill. Will be great.

    A last thought, if the Pens don’t succeed in these playoffs, it could be Bylsma’s fault, but I am not willing to scapegoat him yet. Could be his fault, but it could also be some players faults as well.

  20. Drew71 says:

    Agree (again!) about the east. Yes, the Caps are hot. Yes, Montreal is quirky and maybe a tough out. But the key word there is out. If either of those teams make it, it has at least as much to do with how the Pens play.

    LA is a grind. A tougher tough out. Just the type of team that often rises in the playoffs.

    I don’t see a lot of western hockey, so I’m judging on VERY small sample sizes. But the little I saw of LA I didn’t get. One of their losses. And not a pretty one. And looking at records, they certainly had their share of losses compared to the other top teams. But all that said, you may be right about them.

    And of course, for my viewing, I caught Anaheim during their King Of The World period, if I can mislabel them as kings. But man, they looked sharp. But that sounds familiar in Pittsburgh, and regular season sharpness doesn’t always (sigh) translate.

  21. Vette60 says:

    Hiya Folks.

    Lots of good discussion this AM and a great column by DK and post by Glen to further things along….

    Regarding Bylsma, I would think that past performance does not guarantee future results…that can apply to the magical Cup run and also to the last 3 years of early exits as well…it seemed that everything broke right during that ’09 run while the Flyers series was a debacle in so many ways. There’s been the highs and lows for sure.

    I’ve said before that this years group has a much different feel than the past few and I feel much better going into the playoffs. Much more grit, tenacity, overall toughness…You have “skill” guys like Iggy and Morrow that can get nasty if needed, Murray on the back end as well.

    Shero set the table so to speak, it’s Bylsma’s responsibility to finish. Should Bylsma be canned if the Pens don’t go to the final, win the Cup? I don’t think so. I’m hoping (and expecting) a long playoff run for the Pens this time around.

    Also, enjoyed Rossi’s arcticle on team assessments that would be a threat to the Pens. The Caps, with their recent run of good play, can be a worry. Would love to send them home – can’t stand them. Boston could be a tough out as well if their guys get going, but they haven’t been playing great as well either.

    Should be an interesting next couple of weeks.

    Let’s go PENS!

    Randy in RVA.

  22. dwf says:

    Glen,

    Great post! COULDN’T AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!! Disco Dan is/has been way overrated. After taking credit for what was essentially Therrin’s Cup, DD has gotten a free pass for the past 3 years. You are also spot on that DD is stubborn and thinks that his way is the only way. He just does not get the fact that this league employs coaches that are way smarter than he is and are able to adjust much better than he can.

    If DD does not produce the Cup this year, with the team RS has given him, he should NOT be coaching the Pens next year. But, according to the all knowing DK, it appears that DD can do no wrong and even with another early round exit DD will be given yet another free pass to waste another year of having the leagues/world’s best two players and no Cup.

    Oh yeah, Glen, you are going to seriously upset the loyal “homers” on this blog with this post. If you come back to this blog you will notice that these homers are totally emotion based drones and never let facts or common sense get in the way of how the Pens are playing or being coached.

  23. Jeff says:

    I mostly agree with Glen. Barring more injuries to Neal, Sid, Malkin, Letang etc. the pressure should be on Bylsma and Fleury.

    It’s almost inconceivable to me that Iggy would be on the left wing. After 3 or 4 games there he has been invisible. He clearly has trouble on his back hand coming out of the D-zone, through the neutral zone and accepting passes. With exception to the PP, Bylsma his mitigating the talent of a future hall of famer. Last night Iggy showed up on the Right side once, made a play to Jokinen, Jokinen to Morrow, Morrow to back of the net. Give Iggy (team) the greatest chance to succeed.

    Iggy would be more useful on any line as long as he’s on the RW. Adam Oates wasted half a season with Ovi playing the opposite wing, where he was uncomfortable. Oates finally got it right and look at what’s happened. Bylsma doesn’t have half a season to figure this out. Some wingers can adapt, but Iggy isn’t one of them and the playoffs are no time to force feed him the LW.

    Lets move on to Fleury. I”ll admit I’m not a huge Fleury fan. No matter how the D plays, he seems to have a hard time focusing for an entire game. He doesn’t have to be great this year, I just want him to be present for 60 minutes and not to put the puck in the D’s feet when a forechecker is barreling down on them. Almost always resulting in a turnover. More often than not, he’s a liability when he leaves the net! If he has another poor playoff performance, I’d be with a change being made there, perhaps with the goalie coach before sending Fleury on his way.

    I my opinion, the ownership and Shero have provided their Coach all the tools one should need to be successful in the playoffs. If an early exit happens than Bylsma’s job should surely be in question. Regular seasons are nice, but the playoffs are all important. We are not Nashville here or Pirates fans who give there Coaches and Teams “Attaboys” for doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

    Thanks for Listening.

  24. Scott says:

    I think this reaction proves that the coach pretty much gets blamed no matter what. If the Pens do in fact win the Cup, let’s make sure that everyone who is preparing to lambast him if they lose gives him credit for guiding them to victory. You can’t blame Bylsma if they lose and give him no credit if they win.

    Also, regarding Bennett: It’s no big deal if he’s scratched to start the playoffs. Same goes for Despres. If this team really does reach the finals, you can guarantee with 100% certainty there will be injuries along the way that will force Bennett and Despres into the lineup. They’re going to play in the postseason. Relax.

    If something shocking happens in the meantime and the Pens, say, go out in the first round, it won’t be because they didn’t dress Beau Bennett.

  25. Balboa says:

    Dejan, you write some interesting articles and thanks for interacting with the fans. I think you’re completely wrong. Why are you exonerating Bylsma from blame if the Penguins are swept in the first round?

    This is a team of professionals, and they will certainly be faulted if expectations are not reached. Yet every group of professionals has a leader. Someone who makes decisions. Even professional military units have leaders. Someone must make decisions on how missions are set up and how resources are utilized. If the mission fails, the question is whether it was a failure of execution or a failure of planning. Either way, leadership bears responsibility.

    If the Penguins lose early, to exonerate the leadership of the organization of blame is simply nonsensical. Yet as fans, we can see that the GM did all that he could do. So he will get less blame than others. If the Penguins show the same rigid strategy in the playoffs that they showed the last 3 POSTSEASONS, with few adjustments and baffling lines, then Bylsma should be held most accountable.

    The players are not autonomous. They must execute a plan. You say that Bylsma’s base strategy is sound; I say that he is stubborn, is too arrogant to value line matchups, and makes strange line combinations. How many coaches would put Iginla, a Hall of Fame right wing after 16 seasons, on the left wing? How many coaches would care more about rewarding Dupuis’ good play by keeping him on the top line than about icing the best team? In this case, I think Dupuis should be on the top line, yet the point is valid.

    If the team is put into a position to excel and the do not do so, then they will be blamed. My issue with Bylsma is that he too often does not put the team into such a position.

    DK: This entire thread is going into the Blog Hall of Fame. Your first two sentences had me laughing out loud (in a good way).

  26. Eric Bowser says:

    I’ll gladly give him some credit….

    It must be hard coaching a virtual All-Star team (sarcasm).

  27. TJ says:

    Ask Joe Torre; and Phil Jackson.

    How many World Series did the Yankees win despite payrolls over 200 million? Anyone remember the lakers team that featured Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton that was penciled in as the Champions? How about that 1980 Russian Olympic team?

    You don’t think there are teams out there looking at tape right now trying to find ways to exploit the Pens? The key to the playoffs to me isn’t the all-star team but rather how Bylsma and his staff make adjustments. They failed to do anything in the Philly series last year. The Pens are not going to walk through the playoffs.

  28. Drew71 says:

    I think it IS hard to coach All Stars. Kobe and Shaq, as well as Jordan and Pippin, were together before Jackson took over for displaced coaches.

    That’s just one example. Some have argued that the last generation Pens should have won more than two cups. They had two great coaches when they one those two cups.

    Maybe that’s not a fair way to look at it. But maybe the other extreme, that it is easy with All Stars, is a little unfair, too.

  29. TJ says:

    Patriots might be another good example. All that talent; make it to the superbowl but only win 2

  30. Drew71 says:

    But shouldn’t HE get some credit for the best sports scam since the Fab Five?

    Maybe better. It worked.

  31. Brandie says:

    Interesting reads today. I think Bylsma has to be flexible in choosing and maintaining lineups because this is the playoffs and other teams are crafting strategies with the purpose of advancing themselves toward the cup.

    Everything looks good on paper, but it is all about execution on EVERYONE’S part. Shero gave you all then keys to the Jaguar, now it is up to you to keep it pristine. That means shooting the puck, playing defense, finishing checks, playing the right players, and keeping the lines fresh. It means learning from past mistakes and successes, applying said knowledge, and moving on.

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  33. Drew71 says:

    Holy Crap

    I think “Dejan Hates Me” cleaned up my Bad Bold Self.

  34. Drew71 says:

    Well done, Obi Wan Kenocevic

  35. Drew71 says:

    I feel a column coming on.

    The Talking Hall.

  36. Drew71 says:

    I think I just blew my chances at the Hall.

  37. Drew71 says:

    I’m having fun here all by myself.

    Maybe because.

  38. Joni says:

    I wonder how much scouting other teams/watching tape influences Dan B.’s juggling of lines? I cannot see any discernible patterns for line juggling based on playing certain teams; then again I haven’t been looking. It seems like the possibilities are endless (in Bylsma’s eyes). Perhaps someone out there is capable of finding patterns with the line juggling? Not me – that would require patience and focus.

    Also, I firmly believe that Dan B. has missed his calling as a mixologist/fancy bartender. Mr. Bylsma’s seemingly random mix and match philosophy would probably take him far behind a bar. Not so much behind the Penguins’ bench. (I’ll say it before you do: Wow, that’s rude.)

  39. dwf says:

    Hey DK/Disco Dan/Ray Shero/Pens Ownership Group (if you even read this blog?)

    FYI the Dallas Stars just demonstrated a prime example of accountability, they FIRED their GM Joe N. It was painfully obvious that he did not produce the desired results that their organization was looking for. And hence, he was replaced by IMO, a more knowledgable individual.

    I guess that philosophy only works in Texas? Because according to DK’s article this morning, a coach/GM can go years here in Pittsburgh by just making the playoffs and everyone is happy with that! It appears that the ownership group, yeah that would be Mario and Ron Burkle are saying exactly that by telling DK that DD’s job is secure with yet another early round playoff exit (and I am not saying that it is going to happen…yet).

    Great job setting the bar so high that a dachsund could knock it over!

  40. Drew71 says:

    Crap.

    Now we ALL lost the Hall.

  41. Pucknutz says:

    WOW DK did you poke the hornets nest!
    Rather spirited discussion here today.

    I am going to be one of the “emotion based drones that never lets facts or common sense get in the way” and say this whole discussion is going to be moot.

    The Pens are just going go and win the Cup.!!! LOL :)

  42. tpbco says:

    YEs, by all means, let’s trash the coach BEFORE the playoffs even start.

    The same coach that:

    Has already won the Stanely Cup – please spare me that he won with Therrien’s team. Therriens was fired…for a reason.

    Won the the Jack Adams

    Was the fastest coach in NHL history to 200 wins.

    Read that last one again.

    If you want to say it was the players, okay. Then explain again why it’s HIM, if they go out early.

  43. dwf says:

    tpbco,

    Please follow along;

    2010- Montreal
    2011- Tampa
    2012- Philadelphia
    2013- New York Islanders? or Ottawa? or ??????

    What do they all have in common? Yes, you are correct! Disco Dan was behind the bench every year!
    Regarding MT, say what you want, he played a major role in the Pens Cup victory. EJ could’ve stepped into that position and won the Cup! Who am I kidding, Mike Lange could’ve stepped in there and they would’ve won!

  44. Pucknutz says:

    Hmmm, my memory may not be the best, correct me if i am wrong, but I seem to recall that when MT was fired the team was in danger of not even making the playoffs.

    So perhaps that bit of late “regular season” surge after DB took over was completely meaningless?? Some silly rule that ya gotta make the playoffs to win the Cup.

    Maybe Mike Lange know a way around that one! :)

  45. dwf says:

    Maybe DD had something to do with the “surge”…but doubtful:)

  46. Jandy says:

    Wow, someone check Drew’s temperature. I think he’s sick. He made too much sense there…

  47. Jandy says:

    It’s a big Hall.

  48. Jandy says:

    And that surprises you?

  49. Jandy says:

    You are correct Puckers. The Pens were in danger of missing the playoffs the season Bylsma was made head coach and replaced Therrien. Can’t win the Cup if ya don’t make the playoffs.

  50. dwf says:

    Uh oh! Looks like the Pens will get the Islanders in round 1. Hopefully, DD is doing his homework!!??

  51. Jandy says:

    A lot of good thoughts in here today. DK’s points refuted by Glen, and both make sense. DB’s past failure to make adjustments in the playoffs, the early exits the past few seasons. But…what I am seeing when the guys play (and this is before the additions of Morrow, Iginla, Jokinen and Murray) is MORE responsible play overall, less careless passing, more attention to details, more forechecking and backchecking, more responsibility and more passion. I’m thinking adjustments HAVE been made. I’m hoping to see all this carry thru into the playoffs, including the admustments thing with Coach Bylsma. I see no reason for it to suddenly change. This team isn’t the same as the last two or three seasons. I’m seeing MORE. More responsibility and accountability. More attention to detail. MORE fire and passion.

    The test starts Wednesday.

    I’m pulling for the good guys to pass that test and move on to the next test.

    I think they will. I’ll be watching them.

  52. Jandy says:

    Sorry for the typos, I’m tired. Long day.

 
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