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Mark Madden

IF BYLSMA STAYS...

 
IF BYLSMA STAYS...

I am not ROOTING for Dan Bylsma to get FIRED. Hardly.

I root for the LOGO. What’s best for the LOGO? Disco is a nice guy. But so am I. If my ratings drop, I get FIRED.

Are Bylsma’s ratings high enough? To be determined.

If Bylsma continues as coach, changes seem necessary:

*A bad-cop assistant. Rick Tocchet comes to mind. At some level, the players need to hear a different voice. Bylsma and his assistants, Tony Granato and Todd Reirden, are cut from exactly the same cloth.

Problem: A bad-cop assistant might not be change enough. And the bad cop, whoever he is, would have to get along with Bylsma and share a similar philosophy. Tension is OK. It can’t escalate to conflict.

*A bigger commitment to pedigree, less of an allegiance to try-hard guys. Deryk Engelland and Joe Vitale played ahead of Simon Despres and Beau Bennett. An immediate commitment to the latter two at season’s end admits that mistakes were made.

Problem: Believe it when you see it. Bylsma prefers what he prefers. Mark Letestu on the ice, Alex Kovalev on the bench. Remember?

*A commitment to the way the Penguins play. Don’t go off the board on a hunch. The Penguins tried to outhit Boston. They won that battle, but lost the war. The Penguins are high-octane. Be true to that. Always. 

Problem: Bylsma likes to be right, usually is, and believes he always is. No adjustments until down two games vs. the Bruins. That’s what happens when you win the Stanley Cup in your fifth month as an NHL head coach. Trust your own judgment, yes…but don’t think you’re infallible.

*Don’t be stubborn. If something doesn’t work and alternatives exist, TRY PLAN B. HAVE A PLAN B.

Problem: Bylsma IS stubborn. Jarome Iginla couldn’t play left wing. But continued to. The power play was ragged. Made the same mistakes over and over. Zero-for-15. The same five players kept going out there.

Some suggest stability. Keep Bylsma. Stay the course.

But what course are the Penguins on? The window is closing. It may have already slammed shut.

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