Valentine's Day 2009 was especially depressing for Penguins' fans. That night the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2 at the Air Canada Centre.
All Jason Blake and some Alexei Ponikarovsky. Brutal.
That loss put the Penguins in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and left them five points out of the final playoff spot. After heading to the Stanley Cup Final the season before, this was obviously a huge disappointment for the Penguins. It also cost Michel Therrien his job.
On February 15, 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins brought Dan Bylsma, who was the head coach of the Wilke-Barre Scranton Penguins at the time, up from the AHL and named him "Interim Head Coach."
"We believe we need a change in direction and, with 25 games remaining in the regular season, our goal remains to finish strong and qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs," Shero said. "Dan Bylsma is one of the bright young coaches in the game and has done an exceptional job as the head coach in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
"We also would like to thank Michel Therrien for his significant contributions to the Penguins organization."
Bylsma (pronounced BYLE-smuh) played nine NHL seasons as a right winger with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-2004. He played 429 NHL regular season games and also played in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim. He retired as a player following the 2003-04 season.
The native of Grand Haven, Mich. began his coaching career as an assistant with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL in 2004-05. He made his NHL coaching debut as an assistant with the New York Islanders in 2005-06.
Bylsma joined the Penguins organization as an assistant to Todd Richards in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006-07. In two seasons, the Richards-Bylsma coaching tandem led WB/S to a 98-49-5-8 record. The Baby Penguins won the AHL East Division and Eastern Conference championships in 2007-08 and advanced to the Calder Cup Final.
All Dan Bylsma did that season was bring the Penguins into the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. He also won the Jack Adams Award in 2011 and is currently ranked second among Penguins coaches in all-time wins.
Happy three year anniversary Dan Bylsma!