Dan Bylsma Signs a 2-Year Contract Extension

dan-bylsma-glare

In a move that is sure to perplex thousands around Pittsburgh, Ray Shero’s highly secretive end of year press conference was a reaffirmation for HCDB and for what is even slightly confusing to me, his staff.

Bylsma as well as defense coach Todd Reirden and offense coach Tony Granato have all been extended for another two years past next season. It really comes down to this: if Bylsma’s best claim to fame was to take the talent of the Pens and “open the spigot” on the offense, while still maintaining the rigid structure of the defense that Therrien had in place, imagine what he could do with the defensive talent of the New York Rangers, who happen to still be looking for a new head coach, and who have a modicum (although not what the Pens have) of offensive talent.

Of course goaltender coach Gilles Meloche was not also extended, according to Renaud Lavoie the decision was entirely mutual and expected. Meloche has been with the team for more than thirty years, he’ll go back to scouting as a final, golden, swan song type assignment.

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This is a smart move by Ray Shero, with pressure building on Bylsma and his staff entering what could have been a “lame duck” season, the media and social criticism likely would have been more than anyone could bear. By extending Bylsma the Penguins have clearly made their own statement on what they think of Bylsma and what they plan to do moving forward with him as coach. That *SHOULD* limit the argument as we move forward into next year and hopefully next postseason. But who knows.

We are somewhat surprised that Todd Reirden was given the same treatment. If one of Bylsma’s hand-picked assistants was going to be fired this year, to set a tone or whatever the case may be, you have to figure it would be Reirden. Maybe it’s not fair: there have been different guys who have coached the defense under Bylsma and except for 2009 no one has had much luck, and that seems to be more an indictment of the organizational belief in high-powered offense, or coaching ideology, than it does in defensive coaching. But nonetheless, the results for Reirden are far less spectacular than Byslma or Tony Granato with his vaunted special teams prowess. But then again, this is a message of stability from upper management, and we’re genuinely pleased.

Again just think about what it would be like to play against a Dan Bylsma-coached team, it would be a pain in the ass. This is the right call, although you have to wonder how much longer of a leash the current regime will be given.

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