Think back to the end of the Craig Patrick era. There was no system, coaches were in and out, and basically the Penguins were like a college kid who kept overdrafting their bank account.
In the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, the Pens got smoked in five games by the Devils. The feeling at the time was that the organization had no direction. And that feeling was right. The Penguins fell into 5 years of hell until Ray Shero transformed the organization into a powerhouse. It didn't hurt he had Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but it also didn't hurt he had a structure. The minor leagues play the same systems as the pros. There's one direction and one mind-set. Throw in some cash…boom.
Over the past 6 season, the Pens haven't finished below 5th in the Conference. For four of those seasons, Dan Bylsma has led the ship. When you have a good infrastructure, everything else can be fixed. We hate comparing the Penguins and Steelers, but in a town where so many jerk off to the Steelers' stability, how is the Penguins locking up their coach a bad idea?
If there is a reason to fire Bylsma and replace him with someone better, we have yet to see anyone come close to making a decent case. For example, look at this piece from LOLin Dunlap of The Fan. Premature, eh?
Again, let me point out that after premature exits in the playoffs against Montreal, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and now Boston, it is still my secure conviction that Wednesday’s press conference should have been one in which Shero should have been relaying to the masses the Penguins were looking for a new coach
He is not a bad coach
Bylsma is 201-92. That's a .671 winning percentage. You can't debate facts, jack. He manages Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin very well. If he didn',t he'd be gone. We asked Mike Colligan about head coaching, and he told us this about:
"Head coaching is the attitude, the big picture decision, managing player personalities."
He'll learn from years of mistakes
Dan Bylsma strikes us as a smart guy, a guy that hates to lose.The last two years have been embarrassing. Even the 3-1 blown series lead to the Lightning was rough.
But we personally feel that Bylsma will rise. If he can identify the issues and learn, the Penguins are set up to become a team that can get to the Cup every year. How many teams can say that? Maybe three or four?
People will bitch and complain.
But in the end, this is the best move to make for the Penguins at this point. There is no need for the nuking of the entire franchise.