The Pittsburgh Penguins, led by head coach Dan Bylsma, are gearing up for Game 7 against the New York Rangers tonight. While the season is on the line for both teams, one man’s future is in question. If the Penguins lose tonight, it could be the end of the road for Bylsma behind the Penguins bench.
Bylsma took over in Pittsburgh on Feb. 15, 2009, and has had the luck of coaching some of the league’s top talent. He has won a Stanley Cup (2009) and a Jack Adams Award (NHL’s Best Coach), but only winning one Cup with Sidney Crosby on your roster will tarnish his reputation. Pittsburgh is an annual favorite to win the Cup year in and year out, but the credit goes to the players, not Bylsma.
For his career, he has a .670 winning percentage in the regular season but only a .558 W% in the NHL Playoffs, and that’s where the problem is. Some blame goaltending, and others say it’s just bad luck, but it’s not. Bylsma sets the lineup, including the goaltender, and this postseason is no different. If the Penguins can’t come away with a victory tonight, Bylsma may need to hire a moving company in the morning.
It’s nothing personal, it’s just business, and business in Pittsburgh is the Stanley Cup, at least that’s the idea behind paying Crosby $12 million a year for the next two years at a cap hit of $8.7 million. The Penguins are also going to be paying Evgeni Malkin $9.5 million with an equal cap hit. All I’m saying is the money being spent in Pittsburgh is not spent with hopes of simply making the playoffs, and if Bylsma can’t figure out how to earn a second parade this season, he is most likely going to be coaching in another city next season.
Forget about coaching for your playoff life, Mr. Bylsma. You’re coaching for your future. Win or lose tonight, it’s your team’s performance that will earn you another job or land you behind a desk talking about the NHL instead of coaching in it. Good Luck.