Bylsma sticks up for Fleury, wants to be coaching again soon

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Former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was on Sportsnet’s FAN 590 radio today (audio). Among the questions he was asked: Do Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup hopes all “come down” to how Marc-Andre Fleury performs once the playoff pressure’s on?

Bylsma, not surprisingly, suggested it’s a bit more complex than that.

“I think it’s easy to pin it on one guy and to say that’s the case,” he said. “Some of the struggles Marc had, you look back to the opening series against Philadelphia (in 2012)…no one’s going to like those numbers when you’re under .900 save percentage.

“But I don’t think you can pin that all on the goaltender and say, well, if Marc-Andre Fleury would have played better then we would have won. But that’s going to be something that happens.”

Bylsma went on to say that Fleury is “playing spectacular” right now and that the 30-year-old, who’s been roundly criticized for his .905 career save percentage in the postseason, has won in the playoffs before, helping the Penguins to a Stanley Cup title in 2009.

“You just can’t leave your goaltender out to dry,” he said. “You can’t pin it all on your goaltender and say, ‘We’re going to win if he has a .950 save percentage.'”

As for Bylsma’s coaching future? He said he’d like to be back behind an NHL bench within the next year, if not sooner.

“I’m not necessarily ready to get [back] to the game tomorrow,” he said, “but I’m certainly going to get back in at some point in time and look to be a coach again.”