Dan Bylsma won a Stanley Cup as the Penguins’ head coach and had a superb 252-117-32 regular season record, but after years of underperforming in the playoffs, Pittsburgh decided to go in a different direction in the summer of 2014 and Bylsma found himself out of a job.
He hasn’t been able to find a new NHL coaching gig yet, but he certainly hasn’t given up hope. He’s got a fair amount of free time now though and he’s using it to train for the day his phone rings.
“I have done a scout on 27 teams to this point,” Bylsma told NHL.com. “I haven’t gotten every team yet, but I’m coaching my son’s team and I’ve been other places where it’s just not possible to sit down and watch all of the games that are going on for that two days or three days. So I haven’t watched every game, but I usually record two games a night and watch a game so I can watch the other games the next morning at some point in time to see what’s happening.”
Bylsma is focusing on dissecting the game to an extent he didn’t have the chance to do while he was serving as Pittsburgh’s bench boss. He’s also been studying up on analytics.
One of the aspects of the game he’s been analyzing is the benefits of carrying the puck into the offensive zone versus the dump and chase.
“As a defenseman it’s easiest to play you face-to-face,” Bylsma said. “The hardest defense to play is when you have to turn. So if you get a shot on net, the defenseman has to turn. If you make him go back for a puck, he has to turn. If you carry it in all night and he’s playing face-to-face, it’s the easiest defense you can play. Even though it’s the best to carry it over the line, it’s easiest on the defender.”
It’s also allowed him to keep up to speed with each team’s strength and weaknesses. Which is naturally important given that he might be coaching one of those squads before the 2014-15 campaign is over.