We will all remember where we were when we heard Dan Byslma was fired from the Penguins management team. I was in Lowe’s, shocked and appalled after hearing the news from my Pens alert. I yelped in shock and uttered a few obscene words, but all in all, I was mostly just disappointed. Bylsma came to Pittsburgh, and seemingly turned this team around. When asked about him, the team always had good things to say. He got us a Stanley Cup in 2009, and kept us in the Playoffs for the last 5 years. Personally, I liked the guy, but I don’t get a vote on the new management the Pens bring in. Other changes included promoting Jason Botterill to Associate General Manager and naming Bill Guerin and Tom Fitzgerald to Assistant General Managers, if you hadn’t heard the news yet.
To send Bylsma off, I’d like to share some awesome things he has done for the Pens (for the haters):
-He coached the team to win a franchise-record 252 games
-Bylsma was the franchise’s all-time winningest coach
-On April 4, 2014, he became the fastest NHL coach to gain 250 wins; this was done in 395 games
-Bylsma has the highest regular-season winning percentage of .669 in team history
-On April 22, 2013, he became the fastest coach in NHL history to gain 200 wins in 316 games in Ottawa
And now for some stats on Jim Rutherford, who will be the new GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins:
-He was a former goalie of the Pens; he was a #29, just like Fleury, so he has some Pens blood in him, at least
-20 years of GM experience comes with him to the ‘Burgh
-Rutherford wants to use analytics to help us in the future, which could be a very good thing for us
-Helped coach the North Carolina Hurricanes to win the Stanley Cup in 2006
Another pro is that Guerin will be a good liaison between the managers and the locker room. He was a good player, and seems to be a good guy. We’ll see about the other guys.
In other news, who will be the next Penguins coach? Rutherford has said he hopes to hire a new coach before the free agency opens up on July 1st, which gives him less than a month to hire someone, which is going to be a process in itself.
Even though I’m not sure if I agree with these recent decisions the Pens are making, and they did make Bylsma stick around for 22 days to be fired, I do still have the utmost faith in Mario Lemieux to take this team in the right direction, and turn them around for the better. All of the blame cannot be placed on management, after all. In my experience, the feedback has been about half and half about Rutherford, but only time will tell for us here in Pittsburgh.
At least Rutherford knows he’s lucky, though. He had this to say today: “I’m excited about working with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and all the talented players that are around the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. This is a job that most GMs would like to have, and I am very lucky and very fortunate at this point in my career that I’ve been given this opportunity.”