Report: Penguins to fire GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma

by May 16, 9:46 AM

Rumors have swirled around the Pittsburgh Penguins since their elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night. On Friday, it appears that the organizational overhaul will come to pass per TSN's Bob McKenzie:

Shero, who came through the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators organizations, has been the Penguins' general manager since 2006. Dan Bylsma joined the team as a head coach in mid-season in 2009, and led the club to the Stanley Cup in his very first year. He's amassed an impressive 252-117-32 win/loss record during his tenure as head coach. 

McKenzie expects Jason Botteril to take over from Shero on an interim basis, and suggests that Crosby's agent Pat Brisson could be a front-runner to replace Shero as the Penguins' general manager.

Jun 6, 1:40 PM

New Penguins GM Rutherford on firing Bylsma: 'We needed a change in direction'

by Jun 6, 1:40 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins formally announced the hiring of general manager Jim Rutherford and the firing of head coach Dan Bylsma, in a press conference Friday afternoon.  

Rutherford explained the decision to fire Bylsma as a "change in direction" rather than a comment on Bylsma's abilities as an NHL head coach.

Bylsma was left hanging after Pittsburgh fired general manager Ray Shero in May. He leaves behind a 252-117-32 record in 401 regular-season games with the Penguins, as well as a 43-35 record in the postseason.

Bylsma guided the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009 after replacing Michel Therrien as head coach and was named the winner of the Jack Adams Award in 2011. A resume like that leaves little doubt as to whether or not he will have a job next season.

Feature photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire / USA Today

Jun 6, 12:53 PM

Report: Penguins fire head coach Dan Bylsma

by Jun 6, 12:53 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly fired head coach Dan Bylsma, as first reported by Louis Jean of TVA Sports and later confirmed by TSN's Bob McKenzie.

Jim Rutherford was reportedly named the new general manager earlier in the day, and it didn't take long for him to make changes. 

Bylsma compiled a 252-117-32 record in five-plus seasons behind the Pittsburgh bench and helped the Penguins become an Eastern Conference powerhouse. 

However, the fact that the Pens have made it past the second round just once since their Cup win in the 2008-09 season likely led to his downfall.

Jun 6, 11:26 AM

Report: Penguins coach Bylsma could be casualty of Rutherford regime

by Jun 6, 11:26 AM

The news of the Pittsburgh Penguins hiring Jim Rutherford as their new general manager has some people speculating about the status of head coach Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma was left in limbo after the firing of general manager Ray Shero in May. It's difficult to say which direction Rutherford will take the Penguins prior to the team officially announcing his employment, but general managers often prefer to bring in a coach they know they can work with rather than stick with the staff they inherit.

Should Pittsburgh part ways with Bylsma, reports indicate the Florida Panthers would be interested in his services.

May 16, 11:40 AM

Penguins fire GM Shero; Bylsma's fate to be decided by next GM

by May 16, 11:40 AM

The Pittsburgh Penguins made it official on Friday and fired general manager Ray Shero. In a surprise move, they retained head coach Dan Bylsma, whose fate will be left to Shero's successor.

"We feel it is time to move our franchise in a new direction," Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a joint statement on the Penguins' website. "We share the disappointment of our fans that we have not had success in the playoffs over the past five seasons. We believe that new leadership in the general manager’s office will bring a new approach and new energy, and help us return to championship form."

Penguins assistant general manager Jason Botterill will take over as interim general manager and oversee Penguins scouts as they prepare for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in late June. 

Bylsma, Pittsburgh's embattled head coach, was retained despite reports that he'd be fired at a press conference on Friday morning. Penguins CEO David Morehouse explained at the press conference that, "The decision is to have a new general manager come in and do the complete evaluation, and evaluate the whole hockey operations department including the coaching staff." 

So Bylsma's fate has been kicked down the road, to be decided on by whomever is hired to replace Shero as Penguins general manager.

Feature photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus / Getty

May 16, 9:39 AM

Penguins to hold press conference Friday amid rumors of front office overhaul

by May 16, 9:39 AM

On Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, and on Thursday they cleaned out their lockers amid rumors of a front office shakeup. On Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET the Penguins will host a press conference, and the popular presumption is that the organization will announce at least the firing of head coach Dan Bylsma and potentially general manager Ray Shero as well. 

For now, no particulars have been provided to reporters about who exactly will be available at the press conference. Ominously, there's no mention of whether or not Shero will attend.

Bylsma was not present for media events associated with locker room clean-out day on Thursday, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Rob Rossi reports that Pittsburgh's ownership group, "have staged multiple meetings, either in person or by phone (this week), to discuss the direction of the franchise." 

While Penguins captain Sidney Crosby denied the existence of a rift between Penguins players and Bylsma on Thursday, reports this week have suggested that Penguins ownership is deeply unsatisfied with the club's continued inability to get it done in the postseason, the lack of accountability among the players, and with Shero's failure to find affordable, young talent at the draft table.

May 14, 1:52 PM

Report: Penguins ownership favors firing coach Bylsma, GM Shero could also be terminated

by May 14, 1:52 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins organization, at the ownership level, is still digesting the club's latest May disappointment and is expected to spend the rest of this week plotting a course for the future of the franchise. For the moment, that future does not include head coach Dan Bylsma, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Rob Rossi.

Citing unnamed sources, Rossi writes that Penguins "ownership favored firing Bylsma as of Wednesday," and that general manager Ray Shero - only a season removed from being named the NHL's executive of the year - could also be subject to the axe. 

Penguins' co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux are reportedly split on whether or not to retain Shero; with Lemieux favoring the veteran general manager's retention, and Burkle "firmly" believing that the franchise requires a new top executive.

Rossi suggests that Bylsma was tuned out by Penguins players, and repeatedly clashed with superstar centers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby this season:

Ownership believed Bylsma lost the dressing room this season, specifically the support of franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the sources said.

Players were unhappy with Bylsma's numerous meetings and long practices and the decreasing sense of fun within the Penguins' daily environment, the sources said.

Crosby and Malkin also grew disenchanted with perceived harsh criticism they received from Bylsma during meetings, the sources said.

Rossi also appeared on SiriusXM NHL radio on Wednesday, and laid out the argument for firing Bylsma at length:

I'm told that ownership has three reasons why they're thinking about that: 

1) They really don't see an acceptable amount of accountability within the organization. 

2) They have a big problem that their two franchise centerpieces, over the past couple of years, have had the snot taken out of them in the playoffs physically, and there doesn't seem to be anybody on the roster that will do anything about it. That's different from what used to be part of the identity of the Penguins which was a team that had the type of players - and I don't just mean enforcers - who in addition to playing hockey, could sort of, make sure that if somebody was going to try and take liberties with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin... That that wouldn't fly.

And 3) .... They don't have a whole lot coming. They don't really have anything coming in terms of forwards. We are getting to the point where as great as Crosby and Malkin are, in their late 20s, they may - sooner rather than later - not be guys that are good enough to be guys that are so dominant that they can do it with a limited roster. And the Penguins are paying them a lot of money, so they're going to need to get younger and cheaper somewhere, and with good players too...

Despite a disappointing season - both with the U.S. Olympic team, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins - Bylsma is a highly regarded young coach in the industry. There are currently four head coaching vacancies in the NHL (Carolina, Vancouver, Washington, and Florida), and Bylsma would surely be a shoe-in for one of those jobs, if he wanted it. 

Read Rossi's full report here.

May 14, 9:57 AM

Report: Penguins ownership considers 'sweeping overhaul' after playoff elimination

by May 14, 9:57 AM

It's been nearly five long years since the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team blessed with two of the five best forwards in hockey and saddled with perpetually high expectations, last hoisted the Stanley Cup. On Tuesday, the continuance of that streak became assured with a 2-1 Penguins loss to the New York Rangers in a winner-takes-all Game 7. 

The organization's inability to convert the scoring primes of two generational talents in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, into multiple Stanley Cup victories, has tested the patience of Penguins ownership. That patience may be worn out entirely in the wake of the club's most recent May disappointment and, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Rob Rossi, Penguins ownership is considering drastic action:

Penguins ownership will consider a sweeping overhaul that could include terminating general manager Ray Shero in addition to Dan Bylsma and the members of the coaching staff, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review. Ownership specifically is concerned about a perceived lack of accountability for players, overall team toughness and unproductive drafts, the sources said.

The sources also said Penguins ownership might not want to undergo a complete front-office shakeup with only about a month before the NHL Entry Draft.

No decisions have been made, and they will not be rushed, the sources said.

ESPN's John Buccigross also suggests that Bylsma's days in Pittsburgh are numbered:

While Bylsma has yet to calculate the cost of his team's elimination, the dissatisfaction of ownership has been apparent for much of the postseason. Penguins co-owner and Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux appeared in the Penguins locker room and stared down his players during the first round, for example. Lemieux's ownership counterpart Ron Burkle, meanwhile, reacted to Tuesday night's elimination by getting to the bottom of his cup promptly: