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Bruins/Penguins Game 2:  Bylsma May Now Be Coaching for his Job

Barf.

Let's be clear:  Dan Bylsma does not tend goal.  Dan Bylsma does not try to score goals.  Dan Bylsma does not provide defense in front of his goalie.

But as we all know, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the world of professional sports.

Because as the Penguins inch closer to their fourth straight playoff collapse after winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, Penguins management may very well now be wondering if this coaching staff is built to lead this incredibly stacked team to a championship level once again.

Is a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals sufficient?  I wouldn't think so.  And it's for that reason that Bylsma's seat should start feeling mighty warm this morning.

Again, let's stress, Bylsma's "superstars" haven't done jack squat.  None of them.  Evgeni Malkin has had several flashes of outstanding offensive spurts, but it hasn't resulted in anything.  Sidney Crosby has arguably been playing the worst hockey of his career these first two games vs. Boston.  Jarome Iginla, James Neal, Chris Kunitz have all been non-existent.  The defense, especially Kris Letang, has been horrendous.  Tomas Vokoun has not played badly, per se, but with the aforementioned defense playing so badly, it doesn't matter.  The switch to Marc-Andre Fleury did no good at all, in fact it probably was a bad move in retrospect.

Give Boston a ton of credit, holy hell are they dominating this series.

Maybe it's just the typical fan being pissed off the morning after another incredibly disappointing loss.  So yeah, maybe it's just an overreaction on my part.

But I really don't think so this time.

I honestly think if the Penguins don't put up a fight in this series that Bylsma will lose his job.

No real need to extrapolate any further.  Short and to the point.

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Comments

Hank1974's avatar

His job shouldn’t be on the line because his goalies haven’t been good.
You can have bad centres, bad wingers, bad dmen and still win.
But if you’re goalies aren’t 100%, then you will lose every time.

It’s also not Dan’s fault that the refs have allowed anything and everything to go.
A perfect example is how Marchand took out Letang on a text-book interference/obstruction call during a Boston 2-on-0 (from Game 1).
The ref was right there and didn’t blow it down. That is as black-and-white as it’ll ever get, and yet nothing.
The Duschesne offsides from earlier in the season wasn’t as blatant.

I don’t care what anyone says, in a game where there are no rules, a team like the Bruins will dominate.
You can’t cheat a cheater.

Posted by Hank1974 on 06/04/13 at 09:38 AM ET

Tony's avatar

I would agree, it “shouldn’t”, but IMO, it might very well be….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 06/04/13 at 09:43 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

It’s easier to fire a coach than to fix structural problems. We do this a lot in North America. If they fire Bylsma for this “collapse,” they may as well put an effigy behind the bench that they can burn later.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 06/04/13 at 09:46 AM ET

SnLO's avatar

I agree, Bylsma shouldn’t be let go. But if he’s lost the room… something may be necessary to shake off the malaise.

Just strikes me as odd that a team would release a cup-winning coach after getting his team to the semi-final. Seen it before though.

He wouldn’t be unemployed for long though.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 06/04/13 at 09:52 AM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

I don’t think they need to fire the coach. Their biggest issues are soft D, goaltending and leadership. Then again, I do love seeing them lose so spectacularly.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 06/04/13 at 10:09 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

You’re only looking at some of the pieces if you hone in on the goalie issues.  There’s many more chinks in Bylsma’s armor.  He’s failed to correct a few systematic problems with the team that appear to be coachable:  Lack of commitment to team defense, lack of accountability and discipline, lack of mental toughness and attention to detail.  I’m not sure any of this is necessarily his fault; Geno, in particular, doesn’t seem to be the most coachable character, guys like Cooke seem to make progress then regress at the worst time and then there’s Letang who seems to be an amazing talent who just doesn’t quite “have it together” mentally yet. 

Most damning for Bylsma, however, is the perception they Shero got him do many pieces and they’re not panning out ( I’d argue that none of the guys he picked up had much left in the tank and it shows).

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/04/13 at 10:19 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

There was an humorous comment during the CBC broadcast last night.  They were telling the story of Jagr joining the B’s and his somewhat awkward acclimation period into the Bruin’s system. They paraphrased the Bruins players, who all play a north-south game, looking at this guy skating east-west: ‘how do you play with this guy?’  ‘I don’t know, just give him the puck and play on.’  There is something instructive in that.  Bruins game is so patently obvious that everyone can see it, and yet the Penguins seem neither able to stop it or even adapt to it (i.e., give it back to them).  That’s got to be coaching, though there must have been some upper management disconnect, too, since Iginla and Morrow both come from the same type of system but aren’t really connecting or able to provide the ‘grit’ they were brought over for.  This is the point in the series, if I were a coach, that I’d want Jordan Staal back in his role of a big, shut down center.

Posted by MoreShoot on 06/04/13 at 10:19 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think firing Bylsma would be a horrible move, but sometimes management does it just for a change.  Sometimes that works.  Sometimes…not so much.

The Pens are stacked offensively, but when your goal scorers can’t score, that makes it real tough to win games when you were the league-leaders in goals scored per game during the regular season.  Puts a lot more pressure on the iffy defense and bipolar goaltending.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/04/13 at 10:33 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Not to mention, Morrow, Iginla, Malkin, and Crosby haven’t even played together all that long, considering the injuries and late season additions.  Chemistry can be hard to find: just look at the Wings - it took them ~44 games!

Posted by TreKronor on 06/04/13 at 10:35 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

The Pens are stacked offensively, but when your goal scorers can’t score,
that makes it real tough to win games when you were the league-leaders in
goals scored per game during the regular season.

eerily reminiscent of Wings v Devils in the ‘96 SCF.  It was like hitting a brick wall (named Stevens).

Posted by MoreShoot on 06/04/13 at 10:39 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I like Bylsma as a coach, but Tony has hit on his team’s playoff results the last four years, and those are not the results conducive to a coach keeping his job, rightly or wrongly.

The Pens can undo a lot of the damage with a strong outing in Game Three, but as of now being outscored 9-1 on home ice in the first two games shows there may indeed be cracks too big to patch up at this point.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 06/04/13 at 10:40 AM ET

Avatar

Tony, I don’t think an ECF loss would doom Bylsma, but if they go out like this, for the second year in a row, then yes, he is gone.  He’s frustrating sometimes, especially line match ups, but in the end, this team needs to win in the playoffs.  Four years of this isn’t going to get it done, especially when they look this bad.

4 of 5 isn’t impossible, but it is going to be really tough.  Luckily, they haven’t played their best yet, but the chances of them getting there shrink by the day. Win game 3 , and go from there.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/04/13 at 10:59 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Tony the nsame Players Sid, Geno, Letang, Orpik & MAF are making the same mistakes they have for 4 seasons ! AsI repeat continuously no accountability towards stars & his boy toys Adams, Glass, Eaton & Engo.

this what happens when there are no consequences to your actions or inaction, Might be a great guy, Great Father, Husband what have you BUT he is not a good game coach at all, He kept repeating the Inanity “We didn’t get to our Game” we didn’t get back to our Game”

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 01:10 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Umm you geniuses saying it isn’t on Bylsma do realize he is playing Iggy on LW which he has very rarely if EVER played & is on the 2nd PP unit while Kunitz who has been dogshit most of the playoffs is on the 1st PP & has Geno on the Point with a Screwed Up shoulder that takes away his biggest weapon on the PP .. The 1 Timer slapshot

again Bylsma is a Pound Square Pegs into round holes guy

An a Arrogant prick

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 01:17 PM ET

awould's avatar

Consistently underachieving is probably the single best reason to fire a coach.

Posted by awould on 06/04/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 02:17 PM ET

Hmmm. So he acts like many of the Penguin fans I see. Interesting.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 06/04/13 at 02:23 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 06/04/13 at 03:23 PM ET

You are certainly one to talk.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/04/13 at 02:37 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

This team learned a ton about defensive responsibility under Therrien.  With each year under Bylsma those traits continue to erode. 

There’s little doubt in my mind that the spacing that the Bruins and other clubs the past few playoffs have found in the Pens zone is a bi-product of a lack of accountability coming from the bench and the leadership group on the ice and in the clubhouse. 

The question is, does a coaching change really address this or is there a larger issue at play?

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 06/04/13 at 02:43 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

pens fan in baltimore what ever That Clown Fart said ignore him ! I have him and a bunch of other cretins on Ignore

Plus you bypass the Pensd SUCK Because they beat the AMWings in Game 6 in the Burgh & the “Supposed” Hockeytown in Game 7

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 03:15 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

It is a HUGE Part of the problem, Not the only problem but all the problems start at the coaching staff .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 03:33 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

[But if you’re goalies aren’t 100%, then you will lose every time./em]

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) how’d they win the 1st 2 rounds

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 03:34 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Plus you bypass the Pensd SUCK Because they beat the AMWings in Game 6 in the Burgh & the “Supposed” Hockeytown in Game 7

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 04:15 PM ET

Yeah, that was almost as bad as the Wings beating the Pen(i)s in the Burgh in Game 6 the previous year for the Cup.

Posted by calquake on 06/04/13 at 03:45 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

calquake Clown I don’t dwell on it ! Nice try Here’s your Lovely parting gift

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 04:22 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Hank1974 how’d they win the 1st 2 rounds

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 04:34 PM ET

Vokoun wasn’t too shabby in the first two rounds.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/04/13 at 05:03 PM ET

calquake's avatar

calquake Clown I don’t dwell on it !

I know… that’s why you keep bringing it up… because, you know, you don’t dwell on it. hahahaha

Posted by calquake on 06/04/13 at 05:13 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Please ease up on the Pens/Wings stuff, you can start it up again next season.

Thanks.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/04/13 at 05:18 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Vokoun hasn’t been shabby this round ! Problem has been offense, Turnovers , Coaching

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 05:34 PM ET

Avatar

Focusing on “the defense” is the first place people always look to explain Pittsburgh’s flameouts. It’s the wrong place to look and it always has been. People see a goal go off Murray or whoever’s skate and wonder why he wasn’t square to the shooter. Well, you gotta rewind the tape a little to notice that was just the last domino in a cascade failure kicked off by Malkin (or whoever) making a dumb drop pass at the blue line (then Neal getting caught offside, Iginla taking the wrong rout because he’s playing the wrong friggin position).

It’s irresponsibility when Pittsburgh has the puck that causes the death spiral. That and goaltending (though I have no qualms with Vokoun’s work this post-season).

Giveaways in this series are 30 Pittsburgh, Boston 3.

Apart from Letang, who is, by himself responsible for at least 9 of those giveaways, that isn’t a D problem. It’s a puck management on the attack problem.

Bylsma playing some of his players out of position for reasons that escape everyone and instructing his players to stretch pass along the wall into 1-3-1s and deep traps certainly contributes to this puck management problem.

Posted by larry on 06/04/13 at 06:01 PM ET

Avatar

Giveaways in this series are 30 Pittsburgh, Boston 3.

I saw that stat this morning and almost threw up everywhere.  That is just absolutely obscene.  I don’t want to take credit away from Boston, but man, is it easy to win a game like that.  Think I saw Chara only had 25 minutes of ice time last night, which is like a walk in the park for him.  Have to make it tougher on them.  I’m interested to see how the lineup shakes out tomorrow.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/04/13 at 06:23 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

I for one am rooting for Bylsma to keep his job so Babcock can outcoach him night in night out

Posted by pgoody on 06/04/13 at 06:27 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

pgoody yeah like 2009 when a Rookie Interim coach outcoached him

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 07:32 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Guarantee you Tanner Glass is in

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 07:33 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

EP, how was Babcock out-coached in 2009?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 06/04/13 at 07:33 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

pretty much acknowledged that he outcoached him or at least Babcock wasn’t sure what Bylsmagame plan was & BELIEVE me I would trade in a minute.

That is the point Michel Therrien’s pounding defensive responsibility & accountability was still fresh in their minds & the freedom from listening to MT berate them was all they needed.

Posted by Evilpens on 06/04/13 at 07:46 PM ET

Avatar

EP, how was Babcock out-coached in 2009?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 06/04/13 at 08:33 PM ET

If Scotty Bowman is to be believed, the difference in that series was that Letang was available to Bylsma (the previous year he was scratched because his best friend died during the finals). Put him in there and suddenly every breakout is no longer stuffed as it had been one year prior.

Strange to think that considering the huge liability Letang was against the Islanders and now Boston.

Posted by larry on 06/05/13 at 01:19 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Letang is supremely talented But just as dumb hockey sense wise

Posted by Evilpens on 06/05/13 at 04:05 PM ET

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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

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