Bylsma: ‘I have never coached for my job’


To whom much is given, much is expected.

And as hockey fans are well aware, much has been given to Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.

With a lineup featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — and bolstered before the trade deadline by the likes of Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow — Pittsburgh went into the playoffs as the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup, just as it did last year before falling in the first round to the Flyers. (And in rather embarrassing fashion, at that.)

So, naturally, the question is being raised after last night’s double-overtime thriller in Boston — if the Penguins are swept by the Bruins, will Bylsma keep his job?

“I’m not coaching, don’t coach, have never coached for my job,” Bylsma said today when asked what was at stake for him personally in this series.

“I coached this hockey team in 2009. I came here to win hockey games, and that’s where we’re at right now.

“We know what’s in front of us. We know exactly what’s in front of us, with the odds, being down 0-3.

“But, I believe in that group, I believe in that team, I believe in how we battled and how we’re going to battle, and we’re going to go in knowing we have an elimination game to win Game 4.”

Bylsma, of course, helped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009, and he was named the NHL’s coach of the year in 2011 after leading them to the playoffs despite injuries to Crosby and Malkin.

And even with all the firepower they currently boast up front, the defense and goaltending were question marks heading into the postseason, and they still are.

Which is to say, it’s hard to see general manager Ray Shero firing Bylsma if the Pens lose to a very good Bruins team in the conference finals.

Just don’t expect today to be the last time the question is asked.

Related: Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild
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Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.