New Penguins GM wants coach hired by July 1
Dan Bylsma owns the fourth-best winning percentage in NHL history. He no longer owns a job.
Three weeks after former general manager Ray Shero was fired, Bylsma met the same fate, courtesy of new general manager Jim Rutherford and Penguins ownership.
He formally was dismissed Friday for failing to duplicate his initial success that saw him lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009 — his first season.
Bylsma, 43, must be paid approximately $2 million for each of the final two years remaining on his contract unless he takes another NHL head coaching job.
Now the Penguins and Rutherford will seek a successor capable of guiding them to another championship.
“I have a short list of coaches in mind,” said Rutherford, who would like to have a coach in place before free agency begins July 1.
Rutherford, who was the general manager of the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise for 20 seasons, employed only four head coaches. None of them is available for the Penguins' job. Paul Holmgren (Flyers president), Paul Maurice (Jets coach), Peter Laviolette (Predators coach) and Kirk Muller (Blues assistant) are locked into duties.
Rutherford, perhaps in reference to Bylsma's recent playoff deficiencies, explained what he will require in his coach.
“We're going to have to have a coach who can make the proper adjustments during a game,” he said, “or during a certain period of time in the regular season or a playoff series.
“Because of the talent of the Penguins, the Penguins can play whatever way you want.”
Assistant coaches Tony Granato, Todd Reirden, Jacques Martin and Mike Bales remain on the Penguins' payroll but have been granted permission to seek employment elsewhere.
Although Rutherford had discussions with Penguins upper management about Bylsma's job status, he acknowledged having little relationship with the former coach before firing him.
“I took the information from people who were here,” he said. “I took the information over the last week with a couple of meetings that I had, and we agreed that making a change was the right thing to do.”
Rutherford said it is irrelevant if a coach isn't hired by the NHL Entry Draft (June 27-28) because that person will have no influence on who is drafted.
Although Rutherford has watched the Penguins only from afar, he said their performance in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Rangers was subpar. Rutherford didn't see enough passion in the team.
“You can't just measure success based on where you finished because injuries and breaks play a huge part,” he said. “To me, it's going to be how we win and how we lose. If we lose a series, whatever one it is, and we give it everything we have, that's the way the game goes.”
On that topic, Rutherford spoke of a locker room dynamic that needs to be fixed and suggested the new coach needs to help mold a tougher mentality.
“I suspect that we have good character in that room,” he said. “But it's quiet. It's a quiet approach where you don't have one or two guys who can stand up and say, ‘This is what's really going on.'
“To have someone who's a little more vocal, I suspect that's probably needed.”
Bylsma, who could not be reached for comment, won the most games (252) in Penguins history and is the only man to complete five consecutive full seasons as the team's coach.
Rutherford said he will have complete control in hiring the next coach.
“We won't have a different philosophy,” he said of a new coach. “I'm hiring the guy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Penguins notebook: Johnston stays with team despite mother’s death
- Penguins minor league notebook: WBS players eager for possible NHL playoff call-up
- Downie’s goal, fight spark Penguins to win over Coyotes
- Players respect coach, refuse to blame Johnston
- Penguins coach Johnston’s mother dies
- Penguins notebook: Malkin likely to return Saturday
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Penguins notebook: Johnston supports Bennett, Adams
- Penguins notebook: Ehrhoff exits early again after hitting his head
- Penguins defensemen Letang, Martin embrace heavy workload