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The Penguins have just parted ways with Head Coach Michel Therrien, who's been at the helm since replacing the Great Ed Olczyk Experiment in 2005-06. The interim coach will be Dan Bylsma, 38, who was most recently the head coach of the Pens' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Assistant coach Andre Savard was reassigned within the organization, replaced by Pens director of player development Tom Fitzgerald. Assistant Mike Yeo and goaltending coach Gilles Meloche will be retained.

Bylsma was a nine-year NHL veteran (1995-2004) as a right winger with LA and Anaheim. He played in the 2003-04 Stanley Cup with the Ducks. He began his coaching career in '04-05 with Cincinnati of the AHL, then joined the New York Islanders as an assistant in 2005-06. He joined the Pens family in 2006-07 as the assistant to Todd Richards, and took over WB/S when Richards took an assistant coaching job with San Jose this season. Under Bylsma, the Baby Pens were 35-16-1-2.

I can't say I'm stunned one bit. In fact, if anything, I thought this would've happened a few weeks ago. But this probably won't be the first move the team will make to shake things up. And to think, all of this happens less than a year removed from a Stanley Cup appearance. But there's too much talent here to miss the playoffs, and as the saying goes, it's a lot easier to fire a coach than fire all the players.

Therrien's abrasive style can only last in one place so long, and I'm sure guys like Marc-Andre Fleury (who was also coached by Therrien in the minors) have long since tired of hearing his voice. You can't take away his accomplishments, which included the transition from 'collection of young players' to a jelled, championship-caliber unit. But it was bound to end sooner than later.

Best of luck in your future endeavors, Mad Mike, and thanks for the memories. We'll always have this...

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Gray Roberts said...

I have to say that this is a horrible call. I realize that coaches in the NHL must deal with the fact that they have about the same job security as an investment banker at Bear Stearns, but this is ridiculous.

You fire a man who turned your team around two years ago? You fire a man who got you to the cup finals last year? You just gave the man an extension for God's sake!

This speaks volumes about the organization. It is a classless act to throw a coach under the bus like this. I hope this doesn't come back to bite the Pens in the ass in the long run.

Chip said...

Free at last! Nice of the Pens to wait until this year was in the tank before canning this hack but better late than never. At least there's hope for next year now...

Yeah, "you can't take away his accomplishments." He has the two best players on earth and a goalie taken #1 overall and he managed one good playoff run with that! WOW! What a genius! I'm sure he can turn the Islander around in 2 years as well because then he wouldn't be saddled with bums like Sid and Geno!

Good riddance. Thanks for getting totally outcoached in the Cup finals last year and then royally fucking up this season by playing Mad Libs with our lines.

Paul Rupp said...

I'm very dissapoint in a lots of guy

SantoGold said...

Barry Melrose....stay by your telephone

okel dokel said...

I am not surprised, but doubt it will have much effect.

This team lacks heart and does not have any "energy" guys. I believe that is the hackneyed phrase associated with players who appear to overachive becaue they work hard.

Steve said...

Therrien simply doesn't get the respect of the players and that's why he lost the team and couldn't get them back. Sure he got them to another level last season but there's no reason for this team to tank it this bad after starting off a team best 12-4 this season. Injuries can only explain so much and they've dealt with even bigger injury issues last season without missing a step. The lack of "energy" guys didn't hurt them when they were winning earlier on and if that is the case, why does a player like Dupuis, who is that kind of player look like complete sh1t lately? A minus 4 in Toronto?

Plus, the recent defense first system Therrien was pushing fits this team about as well as set of raised white letter tires fit a Ferrari. Every once in while it catches a team off gaurd but more often than not, they'll just plow right through it. The team knew this and they weren't buying it anymore. If this team was playing the way they could and should, Letang could be averaging about a point per game and his skills were completely wasted in Therrien's system. You can't make a guy like that a traditional blueliner. Hell, even Paul Coffey wouldn't be scoring with this conservative system. Dump the puck and backpedal to center ice?...makes me want to puke! Save that sh1t for Columbus.

While Bylsma may be a temporary fix, this team doesn't need another coach with a resume less impressive than that of some of it's players, or someone young players will less likely listen to because of it. This team needs an experienced coach who demands respect simply based on who he is and what he's accomplished in his career and not just how hard he can be if you screw up. Pat Quinn is that kind of coach and they should bring him in next season.

Also, I heard through good sources that the Pens were working on a big player deal that blew up the afternoon before Therrien got axed. Could it be that happend because someone didn't want to play for Therrien again? It's been a rumored factor in other deals falling through, so maybe Shero just had enough.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I have always liked MT as a disciplinarian and thought he was able to get the most of his players, but over the last few months that feeling has passed.

I would imagine it is difficult to try to force pro athletes to exert themselves beyond the minimum of their ability because they are still going to get paid at the end of the day.

Good luck and thanks for the turnaround, but I think MT's run was up a little while ago.

Now MAF won't have to worry about being belittled by his coach for not playing up to franchise goaltender standars. As good as MAF can be, he can't do it two nights in a row. Some of that because of his defensemen not doing their jobs, some of it because he seems to have a clear lack of focus and gives up WAY too many rebounds.

Everybody keeps pointing to how many points we had a year ago at this time, but one thing they arent pointing to is the simple fact that we just don't have the same personnel anymore.

Still, i won't totally give up: Let's Go Pens!

Scott said...

Well said Chip. I'm amused at how the national media keeps saying Thierren's firing wasn't fair. Obviously they haven't been paying attention. The man is simply a lousy hockey coach. The Pens won last year in spite of him, not because of him.

Coaches with a disciplinarian style have a short shelf life in the NHL. His time in Pittsburgh always had an expiration date. Frankly, I'm amazed he lasted this long.