Bylsma goes on the record (a bit) for first time since Pens firing

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Dan Bylsma might have some hard feelings after being let go by the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer, but he certainly didn’t air those grievances during his first newspaper interview since that happened. Instead, he pretty much raved about what once was to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi.

“I think we were a model,” Bylsma said. “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.”

Bylsma deemed former Penguins GM Ray Shero either the best in the league or at least one of the top three. It’s easy to see why he looks back at his time pretty fondly (at least on the record), as many seem to forget just how much that group accomplished, even with series injuries in just about every full season involving the Bylsma – Shero combo.

Some other interesting takeaways:

  • He also told Rossi that he knew right away that Pittsburgh’s Game 7 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers would mark his last time behind the team’s bench.
  • Most importantly, it doesn’t sound like he’s in a rush to find a new job, and he doesn’t believe that the Penguins intentionally stalled to keep him from getting a new one (say, with their noted rivals the Washington Capitals).
  • It’s understandable that Bylsma doesn’t want to merely take the first opportunity he receives. Rossi points out that he’ll receive $4 million from the Penguins during the next two years, giving him plenty of leeway to save up and enjoy the less stressful life that comes with being a TV analyst.
  • One intriguing theme from his former players was that Bylsma seemed to keep them on their toes with different strategies and tweaks, sometimes in the same game. That may or may not defy certain criticisms of his strategies (although obviously he might have handled the Penguins differently than the U.S. Olympic team anyway).

However you may feel about the Penguins’ postseason disappointments, it’s a bit confounding that Bylsma didn’t end up with one of the league’s 30 head coaching jobs. Then again, from the sound of things, maybe he’s looking for the right fit.