No one should be surprised that Dan Bylsma stayed as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, he seems to be general manager Ray Shero‘s guy.
Shero fired Michel Therrien a few months after leading the Penguins to a Stanley Cup Final. He dismantled the Stanley Cup-winning defense for a more run-and-gun puck moving offense that Bylsma wanted. The team is constructed in Bylsma‘s image, it is his baby.
The Penguins were once viewed as the next coming of the 1980s Edmonton Oilers. Now they are seen as a team that can’t finish.
To win the Stanley Cup it takes 16 wins. The Penguins finished with eight this year, making it four straight years they couldn’t get past the halfway point. You would think that that would be unacceptable when given a loaded roster for three of those four years.
But unacceptable is not a word you will hear from Shero, Bylsma or any of the Penguins for that matter. Instead they rather used the word disappointing, as if it has been bad luck for four years running.
With the Bylsma extension, Shero and Penguins management are telling Penguins fans that they accept and are happy with the four playoff meltdowns in the previous four years to the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and, most recently, the Boston Bruins.
With no change happening in management it is hard to imagine that next spring will yield a different result.
In a press conference Wednesday, Ray Shero said, “Beating the Islanders was an important step for us. To win when we were expected to win.”
The problem was that the Penguins were expected to win the Stanley Cup. Not to beat a team they should beat in the first round.
When will losing to lesser teams year after year in the playoffs be enough to change coaches? Apparently it won’t be, so long as the Penguins play winning hockey in the regular season.
It appears the Penguins management rates success on where they finish the regular season, not on how many Stanley Cups they win.