The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, but have failed to get back to the final in the last five seasons.
Ownership was looking for a shakeup, and that's what they got when general manager Ray Shero was fired along with the coaching staff days later. In an interview with Trib Live's Rob Rossi, former head coach Dan Bylsma explained how he felt about the organization.
We had stability, great stability. From ownership, from within the organization, with our players. I was fortunate to coach in a stable situation, and I shared that vision with my general manager — and I coached for a great general manager.
Along with stability, Bylsma had great respect for the job Shero did with the team he was to lead to another Stanley Cup.
"If Ray Shero wasn't the best GM in hockey, he was definitely top three," Bylsma said. "That's what I believe."
Penguins ownership wasn't so happy, though, as Rossi reports: "Penguins ownership stopped believing in Shero long before CEO David Morehouse fired him May 16."
Bylsma had the trust of his players, but veteran Chris Kunitz told Rossi:
"[He] made a lot of adjustments, usually from shift-to-shift … and sometimes guys thought we could stick with one thing a little longer."
A ringing endorsement, however, came from center Evgeni Malkin.
"[Bylsma had] my respect because he works so hard … and he cares about his players like they are people," he said.
Bylsma wants to make his way back behind an NHL bench in the future, but he's enjoying his time off as of now.
The 43-year-old had a plan in place for the offseason constructed with Shero. Now that those duties are turned over to Jim Rutherford and Mike Johnston, Bylsma can focus on coaching his son's Penguins U-15 youth team.