Dan Bylsma

Where does Bylsma go from here?


Not long ago, Dan Bylsma was the toast of the NHL’s coaching fraternity. A Stanley Cup winner. A Jack Adams Award recipient. The picture of composure, as portrayed by the storytellers at HBO.

Today, Bylsma was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins, a star-studded team that underachieved in the last five postseasons under his guidance. There have been reports that he’d lost the room, and that his relationships with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had become frayed.

Bylsma was also the head coach of the United States Olympic team in Sochi, where the tournament started well for the Americans, only to end in disappointment and embarrassment. Soon after, U.S. captain Zach Parise had to make clear he wasn’t being critical of the coaching staff when he said the team played “passive.”

Yet another example of how quickly things can change in pro sports. (Meanwhile, Darryl Sutter, not long ago that clueless guy in Calgary, and Alain Vigneault, fired after last season by Vancouver, are coaching for the Stanley Cup.)

So, where does Bylsma go from here? Besides Pittsburgh, there are three coaching vacancies in the NHL — Vancouver, Carolina, and Florida.

It’s hard to believe Bylsma won’t be a strong candidate to fill at least one of those vacancies. In fact, it’s possible all three teams will pursue him, and he might have to pick one.


One of the six teams that Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler was reportedly willing to be traded at the deadline was Pittsburgh. And that was after Kesler played for Bylsma in Sochi. Would hiring Bylsma, combined with a free-agent addition or two, convince Kesler to stay? Remember that new Canucks general manager Jim Benning thinks he can turn things around “in a hurry.”  That wouldn’t be so easy without Kesler.

Or, might Bylsma prefer Carolina, where he’d be reunited with former Penguin Jordan Staal and US d-man Justin Faulk? The Hurricanes’ roster is hardly bereft of potential, even if the job wouldn’t be as high profile.

Florida can’t be completely discounted either. There’s young talent there, not to mention new ownership that’s promising to spend money to improve the roster. There’s also Roberto Luongo in goal, while Vancouver and Carolina are far less certain at that position.

Related: Penguins seek complete directional change without sweeping roster moves

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.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.